Wooden Mary and Joseph




I saw these very cute wooden Nativities and just had to make them for a dinner we were having.

You will need 2 pieces of 2X2.  one needs to be about 10 inches and the other about 8 inches tall.  Paint the wood your preference of colors.  I choose to do some with “Joseph” brown and some green, and “Mary” blue.  We then sanded them down and applied stain over the top to mute the colors a bit.  Mary-and-Joseph4Place a painted knob (I got them at JoAnns) on top for their heads.  A scrap rectangular piece of any kind of flat board, (ply wood or any flat board wood) sized 3 inches by 2 inches, painted a cream color, sanded and stained again as well.  A button, painted skin tone completes the baby Jesus.  Glue him to the other two.  We then wound twine around the three and tied it off.

We made quite a few of these and they were a big hit at our Christ centered celebration!

Family History Quiet Book: Cupcakes

Cupcakes Quiet Book page: www.continuallycreative.comWhen I was thinking about quiet book page ideas, I found the “Imagine our Life” website.  She is an amazing designer.  She has a great page for cooking cupcakes. So, rather than reinvent the wheel, I decided to use it.  The only problem was I had allotted myself only one page per ancestor for this quiet book, so I made a couple of quick modifications to turn her beautiful two page quiet book page into a single page.

I like that it is a page that can have pretend play.  They can read the recipe book, add ingredients and stir, bake in the oven, and then decorate the cupcakes.  This has potential for a lot of play time.

Since she does such a great job of giving instructions as well as a beautiful patten, I recommend you visit her blog and use her pattern as well.  It is great!cupcake_one_page

Italy: Using Pizza to teach about half

pizza-1I wanted to teach them about the concept of half, so I decided to use pizza as my teaching aid (after all, we were learning about Italy).

I used this Melissa and Doug Pizza set and they absolutely LOVED it.

First, we cut the pizza in half to show how to divide into equal parts.  Then, We used the food on top to teach the concept.  We started by putting food of one type on one side of the pizza and the other kind of food on the other half.  Each of them took turns so they could all grasp the concept.  Finally,  I gave them a pile, and we divided it in half by keeping one piece, and then giving the second piece to someone else.  They had a lot of fun with this activity, and left with a strong grasp of the concept of half.

pizza-2 pizza-3 pizza-4

Simple fun effect with Photoshop

i-have-a-secret-for-santaSince it is the holiday season, I thought I would share a fun effect I created specifically for Christmas photos. I had a couple of pictures of my daughter with Santa last year, but I wanted to display one in our home that looked like a drawing.  So, I played around in Photoshop a little bit until I found something I liked.  Would you like to do something like this as well?  Follow these Simple Steps:


i-have-a-secret-for-santa_first-picture1. Open up your photograph.








i-have-a-secret-for-santa2_bw2. Change the image to Black and White with a good contrast in the photo.  I do this by clicking control U and then moving the saturation to nothing.  If you need to change the contrast, click on Control L and play around with the levels.






i-have-a-secret-for-santa_unsharp-mask3. Click on the Filter menu, Go down to “Sharpen” and then over to “Unsharp Mask”.

I played withe all the settings for a while, but ended up with the following:

Amount 187%
Radius 2.6 pixels
Threshold 46 levels




Have fun!  This works with all kinds of pictures, but Christmas ones with Santa are my favorite.

“UNO” Neighbor gifts

IMG_6521Here is another fun neighbor gift idea.  We wanted to give our neighbors something fun to do together.  I wrote the following poem to go with some UNO cards.

UNO Dasher, and Dancer and Prancer and Vixon.  Comet, and Cupid
and Donder, and Blitzen…but do you recall, the real reason for the season
after all?  We are grateful at this time of year to reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior and the blessings we receive because of his birth into this imperfect world.  UNO we love and appreciate your great friendship and UNO we wish you a Merry
Christmas and Joy and happiness in the coming year.  We hope You will use this to find joy together as a family, and take some time away from the busyness of life,
because UNO you deserve it!

Fun idea!  Just attach the poem to the cards and Merry Christmas!

“Glade” neighbor gifts

IMG_6523The yearly neighbor gifts are so fun.  But, sometimes I stress about what to do.  I always want something nice, but creative as well.  We wanted to share some fun, very simple (it has to be simple this time of year, right?!) and creative things for you to give to your neighbors.

Everyone loves candles.  Glade candles are always on some kind of sale.  I love getting Glade products and adding a cute saying, such as “At this time of year, we wanted to let you know that we are so GLADE for your friendship, MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

Wooden Manger

Baby-Jesus-MangerI made these cute, simple mangers for some decoration at a dinner that we had.  They were so simple, and only took about 10 minutes to put together, which means you could probably make them with kids, with a little adult supervision and help with the hot glue.

What you will need:IMG_4971

A 2×4 cut about an inch and a half at a slant


small piece of white cloth

small wooden button


Baby-Jesus-strawHot glue your raffia (or straw) to the wood so that it looks like a hay bed.  Fold the cloth so that it looks like a baby bundle and end with the raw edges underneath where they can be glued to the straw.  Add a wooden button for the face, and if wanted draw a face, or eyes on the button.  Done!  So simple, but very cute as a baby Jesus decoration!


Italy: Architecture

castle-1 castle-2 castle-3I wanted to teach the kids a little about architecture while we were learning about Italy. I thought about doing something with columns and teaching them about the basic types of columns. I thought about other Roman ruins I could show them. I thought about some of the great cathedrals and basilicas in Italy. But, when push came to shove I went the easy route. I found this castle on sale at a store and ran with it. We set it up and I let the kids have some imaginary play time. They pretended to be royalty, dragons, and peasants. Then they used crayons to color the castle. This was such a hit that they could have spent hours playing with it. But, I think a simple cardboard box would have worked just as well for them.

Happy Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving Boats

Thanksgiving Boats

Last year, just before the Thanksgiving holiday season, a group of us had to create a small fleet of ships that could be worn atop someone’s head (lightweight and manageable), completed quickly and done for little cost. The reason behind the need for such headwear is another story, which I will save for another time. When I showed my friend, Nicole, a picture of our completed fleet, she mentioned what a great Thanksgiving craft it would make, and if I would like to write about it on her blog. A year later, I am ready to blog!
These are very easy and cheap to make, and the materials are well suited for water, if wanted to actually get them wet. They can be made into a headpiece, which I will describe below, if you want to wear them and act out Naval battles or the Mayflower crossing the Atlantic and landing on Plymouth Rock. The choice is completely up to you.

Materials Needed:
Aluminum loaf pans
Styrofoam blocks
Styrofoam plates
Kabob sticks
Hot glue sticks
Hot glue gun
Optional Materials:
Paint (if you desire to paint them)
Ribbon (if you desire to make them into headwear)

Shape the aluminum loaf pans into a boat
Cut Styrofoam plates into sails (research what kind of ship you want to recreate and cut shape of sails accordingly)
Cut Styrofoam blocks in 2inx2inx6in pieces

-Thread kabob stick through cut Styrofoam plate to create a mast and sail
-Hot glue the cut Styrofoam block to the bottom inside of the loaf pan
-Place kabob sticks with sails into the Styrofoam block-depending on what type of ship you are trying to recreate will depend on how many sails you will need per ship
-Trim any excess mast with scissors
-Hot glue where the kabob stick and the foam meet for added support
-Paint your boat your desired colors (again research for authenticity, or let the kids go crazy…you could have the most unique Mayflower ever created!)
If you want a headpiece:
-Poke 1 hole on each side of your ship; thread ribbon through each hole so that the ribbon lies on top of the Styrofoam block
-Hot glue each hole where the ribbon come out of and your ready to wear your ship!

Hope y’all have fun making these, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Boats