We are well underway with our list of advent activities! Frankly, I’ve not been super on top of things and instead of having the next day’s book and activity ready, I often find myself in the morning hastily wrapping up a book and trying to decide which activity fits into our schedule. Last night we drove around to look at Christmas lights, which is something the kids really enjoy and is so easy compared to anything else. You just strap ‘em in and drive around, listening to Christmas music and their “oohs” and “aahs.” If you are in the vicinity of West Henrietta, we went to see this house, and I thought it was impressive for an amateur display. It’s not Disneyland, but it’s good to have a destination when you’re out looking at lights.
Anyway, looking back on what I took pictures of so far, we have mostly been making decorations. First there were the felt ornaments that I bought last year after Christmas on clearance and re-discovered on December 1st. Score! Fun and easy.
Even LB wanted in on the glue-and-stick action. For him, I put dabs of craft glue on the tree, and he stuck the “gems” on. BB did the whole thing himself.
Then one day we were going to make birdfeeders and I still hadn’t quite worked out the logistics of it, so I decided to do it by threading cereal onto yarn. Educational, because LB is learning his colors, and good for developing fine motor skills. I am deeply, deeply sorry to the birds and those who love them that we set out this kind of crap for them. I don’t want my kids eating it either. If it makes anything better, neither the birds nor the squirrels have recognized it as food, so it’s still hanging outside as a colorful garland. Which is fine.
And last but not least, we made salt dough ornaments. Looking around the web, I found the recipe was consistently 1 part salt, 1 part water, 2 parts flour. So we mixed:
- 1/2 c. salt
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 c. flour
and this gave us a nice dough and a good quantity. We made about a dozen ornaments. It was a little sticky so I floured the surface we worked on. We rolled out the dough pretty thin, maybe 1/8” to 1/4”, then cut out trees, gingerbread men, and circles. I wanted to do a tree like this one on Pinterest only to find that it was a LIE. If you click through, it is not made of salt dough, it’s ceramic, and all the other cool thumbprint things on Pinterest are made of clay, bronze, etc. Well, let me tell you that salt dough does not take detailed impressions well. We did some fingerprints but these are sort of cookie-ish and so they puff a little, thereby destroying the imprints. By far the nicest ones, I thought, were the ones we stamped and then baked.
Before baking, I used a straw to make a hole at the top for a ribbon. Then, I baked them at 250F for about 2 hours, and I did flip them about halfway. When they cooled, we painted them. You can see in the middle my thumbprint tree; it sort of worked, but BB’s (yellow) print is bigger than my print (orange). I painted the black cord, but I think a sharpie might have been a better idea. I did a thumbprint reindeer too, with BB’s name and the year. I don’t know if we’ll keep them, but it would be a cute keepsake. He insists it’s a moose, though. These are my 2 favorite:
Inspired by this pin, which is absolutely all over the place on Pinterest.
And to think, we still have some more ornament crafts lined up! BB says he thinks our tree is the most beautiful tree in the whole world. I find that so sweet; proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because in reality, it is a scrawny fake tree from Big Lots with very sparse decoration. It is our own Charlie Brown tree, beautiful only because we love it.