25 Books of Christmas

25 Books of Christmas

I’ve always been a big reader, and I love reading with my kids, but I just recently heard about a fabulous new way to celebrate Christmas:  an advent calendar of books!

A new book for every day in December?  Oh – I am SO loving this!

Part of the reason I was so inspired was because of these gorgeous photographs I found online!  They are {above, clockwise from left} from Enjoying Life with 4 Kids, Mer Mag, and Over the Big Moon.

I rushed over to my bookcase with excitement, ready to tackle this project……. only to discover that I didn’t quite have 25 books celebrating Christmas.

*gasp*

I … I didn’t have ENOUGH books???

Well.  That’s something we’re going to have to fix.  And soon.  But in the meantime we’ll just have to reread the ones we do have a few times, which is not a problem for me!

I love incorporating activity books into the kids’ day, too.  I’ll read to them all day long if that’s what they want, but my girls really enjoy books they can interact with as well, like coloring books or books that play music. Which is why I’ve listed so many Usborne books in this post – because they have SO many great interactive books for Christmas!

And the activity/sticker books are great to unwrap in the beginning of the month – especially something like the Advent Calendar to Color – to keep them busy all month long!

Now, part of the awesomeness of being an Usborne consultant is that even though I don’t own all of their Christmas books {yet}, I’ve seen most of them.  And they’re really nice, so I don’t hesitate to recommend them.

Below are links to over 3 dozen Christmas books from Usborne for ages infant through teen.

I’ll be posting reviews of other, non-Usborne books, too, during the holidays, but for this post, it was easier for me to stick with just one group of books.  Here are pics of just a few of the ones I’ve listed links for below:

Christmas Usborne Books

And to make things easier for you, I’ve grouped my recommendations by subject.

Enjoy the browsing!  :)

Touchy-Feely Baby Books

That’s Not My Reindeer
That’s Not My Angel
That’s Not My Snowman
That’s Not My Penguin
Nativity Touchy-Feely
Santa Claus Touchy-Feely

Books with Sound

Little Children’s Christmas Music Book
A Christmas Carol with Sounds
Nutcracker with Music
Jingle Bells
The Twelve Days of Christmas with Sounds
Twas the Night Before Christmas

Coloring Books

Advent Calendar to Color {Open this one on December 1st!!!}
Christmas Drawing Doodling and Coloring
Christmas Pocket Doodling & Coloring
Christmas Patterns Coloring Book
Santa Sticker & Coloring Book
Christmas Doodles

Sticker Books

1001 Things to Spot at Christmas Sticker Book
First Sticker Book Santa
Christmas Sticker Dolly Dressing Book
First Sticker Book Christmas Market
Christmas Carols Sticker Book
Santa’s Workshop Sticker Book
Winter Wonderland Sticker Book
Sticker Christmas Cards

Activity Books

Busy Santa Book with Pull Back Toy
Christmas Decorations to Cut, Fold & Stick
Christmas Things to Stitch and Sew
Big Book of Christmas Things to Make and Do
Christmas Activity Book
My First Christmas Activity Book
1001 Things To Spot At Christmas
Christmas Jigsaw Book
First Stencil Cards Christmas
My Christmas Tree

Picture Story Books

When I Love You At Christmas
Little Stories for Christmas {Board Book}
Nativity Flap Book {Board Book}
Twas the Night Before Christmas {Record Your Own Voice}
Christmas Carol, A (Picture Book)
A Christmas Carol – Illustrated Originals

And let’s just take one more look at how awesome it looks to dress up a big pile of books in Christmas wrapping paper……

25 Books of Christmas

I can’t wait to try this!!!

Please share with me your favorite Christmas stories – I’m always on the lookout for new books.  :)

Happy Reading!

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How To Make Pom Pom Acorns

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

These cute little Pom Pom Acorns are not adorning our home as festive fall decorations.

And they were SO simple – and cheap – to make!  {Have you noticed that’s a theme with me??}

Anyway, the pom poms can be picked up at the dollar store or any craft store, and the acorn tops were free.  You know:  from our yard.

The girls had fun collecting the acorn tops all around the driveway and sidewalk.  They were easiest to find in the cracks in the cement.

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

You can see from the photo that the pom poms we used are pretty small.  Some of the acorn tops we found were even smaller, and really unusable.  I tried to pick out the largest ones, but even they weren’t terribly big.  I guess it depends on what kind of trees you have near you.

I set out the pom poms in a little art palette dish that we have, and let my daughters match up the acorn tops with which color pom pom they wanted.  This made them feel more involved in the assembly, even though I wouldn’t let them touch the hot glue gun.

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

To put the acorns together, I squeezed some hot glue into the acorn tops and pressed the pom pom into it.

It only takes a second or two for the glue to start working.  Just be careful – if you add too much glue it will squeeze out the sides.

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

I think these little things are just adorable!

I intended to use them mostly for decoration, but we’ve also practiced some counting and color matching with them, as well.  So if you’re homeschooling, they’re a great tool for lessons in autumn.

And as I mentioned, I usually pick up my craft pom poms in the dollar store, but if you’re having trouble find them in a store near you, here’s my recommendation for ordering some online {because you can never have too many pom poms}:

Half Pound Bag of Pom Poms for Crafts

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Pretend Play: Raking Autumn Leaves

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

This is such a wonderful fall activity!

My girls have had – and are still having – so much fun with this Pretend Play activity of Raking Leaves.

And it’s so simple, too!

I bought 3 bags of 50 leaves each at the dollar store, and we already had the rakes – although I think we bought them at the dollar store in the spring.

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

I do suggest using plastic rakes because they’re safer for indoors.  We also have metal and wooden rakes, but plastic worked best for this.

Also, I prefer doing this activity on the carpet, but it does work on the tile and wood floors.  To be honest, though, I found raking the leaves up on carpet with the plastic rake to be somewhat soothing.  Meditative, even.

To store the leave we use a basket that we already had, but you could also use a plastic baggy.  {That’s what I plan to store them in at the end of fall.}

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

Another thing these leaves are perfect for is throwing.

Rake up a pile and toss them into the air!

Seriously:  these are made of fabric, so they kind of flutter down gently.  The whole reason I decided to do this with my kids is because they adore the Elefun Game so much.  And, really, the Elefun game isn’t perfect.  The butterflies/fireflies come out too quickly and there aren’t enough of them, but my girls still love catching them AND collecting them afterwards.

But that’s why I bought 150 leaves for this activity – so there would be enough to entertain both of them.  Plenty to keep them busy with raking and throwing.

And organizing.

My 4yo would make piles of the leaves, sorting them by color and counting them.  And my 2yo made piles that were her “birds nests.”

The options are limitless.

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

And, like I said, this activity can be extremely affordable.  I already had the rakes and the basket, and I bought the 3 bags of leaves for a buck a piece at the Dollar Tree.  The plastic rakes can also be found in the outdoor toy section or garden section of places like Target or Kmart even Walgreens – at certain times of the year.

BUT, if you’re having trouble finding the items you need, here are some Decorative Fall Leaves and a Gardening Tool Set from Amazon:

Decorative Fabric Fall LeavesPlastic Gardening Tool Set for Kids

And please let me know if your Little Ones enjoy it – and if they come up with any games of their own!

And check out these other Pretend Play ideas, too:

Pretend Play:  Makeup

Pretend Play:  Post Office and Mail Carrier

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Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

Blue and White Chevron Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

I love the idea of being able to set up an entire meal with personalized dishes and matching accessories.

Which is what these chevron patterned monogram gifts are for!  From the placemat and coasters for your breakfast at home to the lunchbox and water bottle for your lunch at the office, these are a great way to start any meal.

They’re great for kids, too!  I mean, sure, you might first think of yourself, or even your teenage daughter/granddaughter when you first look at them, but young kids also love to see their names on things – even when they’re just starting to learn their letters.  And not all of us want to have blinding primary colors or gigantic faces of Elmo plastered all over our kitchens.

We have to look at this stuff every day, too, amiright?

{Okay, okay… my girls have Jake and the Neverland Pirates placemats.  I admit it.  BUT, I love Jake, too.  :) }

Because we should be able to surround ourselves with things we love.  And things that no one will mistake as not being ours.  Especially if you’re living in a dorm or working in an office where your stuff keeps walking off…

Anyway, aside from the easy personalization, the other thing I love about this line of monogrammed gifts is that they come in different colors.  Below you’ll find the links for the blue, green, and pink versions!

Please share with me which are your favorites!  And don’t forget to also share them on Facebook and Pinterest!

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Coasters

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Lunchbox

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Mug

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Soup Mug

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Water Bottle

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Melamine Plate

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Porcelain Plate

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Napkins

Blue & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Placemat

Green and White Chevron Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Coasters

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Lunchbox

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Mug

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Soup Mug

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Water Bottle

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Melamine Plate

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Porcelain Plate

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Napkins

Green & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Placemat

Pink and White Chevron Matching Personalized Monogram Gifts

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Coasters

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Lunchbox

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Mug

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Soup Mug

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Water Bottle

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Melamine Plate

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Porcelain Plate

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Napkins

Pink & White Chevron Personalized Monogram Placemat

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Paper Heart Hand

Paper Heart Hands

These Paper Heart Hands are such a fun and simple project!

I’ve made quite a few of them with my girls.  They only take a minute and they love to play with them.

What’s really awesome, though, is that they also make great gifts!  You can have the kids decorate them with doodles and stickers and send them in greeting cards to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends.  Or the paper hands can BE the greeting card itself.

On that note, they also make great homemade presents for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s / Grandparent’s Day.  But we like to make them every so often just for fun.

Paper Heart Hands

You make them by folding a piece of paper in half and lining up your child’s hand against the folded half, with their thumb and forefinger touching the crease, as shown above.

Trace their hand, or have them trace their own hand, making sure that the tips of their thumb and forefinger overlap with the creased edge.

Paper Heart Hands

Then cut out their hand.  Voila!

The space between the thumb and forefinger is what resembles a heart when you open it up, so try to make your outline of the hand resemble half of a heart in that space when you cut it out.

It’s okay if you’re a little off – like I was in this one.  Some look more like hearts than others.  My girls {and Grandma} love them anyway, even if they’re not perfect.

Paper Heart Hands

And one thing that my daughters love is when I take that “heart” that I cut out of the center of their hands and turn it into a little butterfly with just a few more snips of the scissors.

The “butterfly” is that thing in the photo that looks a bit like a number 8 with a pointy bottom.  Again:  young kids usually aren’t that much of a perfectionist when it comes to crafts.

Anything involving construction paper, scissors, hearts, and – possibly – butterflies is awesome for them.

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Felt Lacing Pumpkins

Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillow Craft for Fall / Halloween / Thanksgiving

These Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillows are so cute, and my girls really enjoy them.

And I say “enjoy them” in the present tense instead of “enjoyed making them” in the past tense, because they’re still playing with them.

They make pretty nice Fall decorations, too… except that they keep walking off and getting lost in the baby doll’s beds…

Anyway, this is a great project to do with kids in autumn.  I made a step-by-step photo of how we made them {see below}.  I didn’t post any patterns or anything, since I did it all by hand.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 sheet of orange felt per pumpkin
brown yarn
scissors
hole punch

To make the pumpkin pillow:

1.  Fold the felt in half and cut it along the crease to make two pieces.  With the two felt sheets together, cut out a shape resembling a pumpkin.  Sort of an oval with a stem on top.

2.  Use a hole punch to make holes around the edge.  This may take a few minutes if you {like me} don’t own an ergonomic hole puncher with a cushioned grip.  Place the pumpkin with the holes on top of the pumpkin without the holes, and using a pen or marker, mark where each hole is, so that when you cut out the holes on the second pumpkin, they will line up with the first.

3.  Cut a piece of yarn about a yard long for each pumpkin.  Wrap some clear tape around one end of the yarn to make it sturdy enough to thread through the felt.

[I did steps 1 through 3 the night before, while my kids slept.  If your kids are a little older - and you have an easier-to-use hole punch than me - you may want to let your kids help with those steps.]

4.  Let your kids sew together the pumpkins, just like a lacing card, leaving a few holes {about a 1/4 of the pumpkin} open.  See the 4th photo below.

5.  Crumple up a sheet of tissue paper and stuff it inside the pumpkin.  Alternately, use cotton balls or a some cotton batting.

6.  Finish sewing up the pumpkin and tie off the yarn.

Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillows

It’s a pretty easy project, and the best part is if you don’t have any felt, you could always substitute construction paper!

Plus, we made ours before Halloween, but if that’s already passed, these look great for Thanksgiving, too!

Have fun!

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Halloween Puffy Paint Window Clings

Halloween Puffy Paint Window Clings

This Halloween Puffy Paint Window Cling project was one of those that was a borderline “Fail” for me.

Luckily the kids still had a blast.

Not only did I let them play with paint {always a big hit} but they also got to stick things on the windows {also cool}.

The main problem was that I made some of them too thin, meaning that they got stuck to the wax paper.  The ones that came off still had some paper residue on one side and had to be attached to the window with the side I thought would be facing us.

Since I had so much trouble peeling some of those off of the not-as-smooth side of the waxed paper, I then tried drawing some on the shiny side.  Some of those were also too thin, but then they all stuck, regardless.

And by then I’d run out of puffy paint.

I plan to redo the project again in the future to try to figure out a better method, but, in the meantime, since my kids were so delighted with the whole thing, I’m sharing the free printables that I made for it anyway.

Halloween Puffy Paint Window Clings FREE Printouts

The point was to draw with the puffy paint on the waxes paper while the template was underneath {I was actually very proud of how well my 4yo did}, then let the paint dry, peel off your design, and stick it on a window.

As I mentioned, it kinda worked.

If you have {or have had} better success with a similar craft, please let me know!!

Here are the free printable PDFs that are in the photo above:

Halloween Bat Window Clings Template

Halloween Ghost Window Clings Template

Halloween Pumpkin Window Clings Template

Halloween Puffy Paint Window Clings

And it wasn’t all bad.  The ones I salvaged did look pretty neat on the window.  :)

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