Showing posts with label Christmas Book List 2010. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Book List 2010. Show all posts

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow Baby Ornaments

So, my friend had her baby last week!

This friend lives about 200 feet away from my front door, but, sadly, I wasn't able to go over there right away, because my three babies have been soooo sick!  Today, though, I stole away to peek in on her little girl while she slept.  She is so beautiful.  And the Mom is a super-mommy: happy, content, and just glowing.  It's great to see!  This is the same baby that I made the skull blanket set for.  I am excited that my friend will be staying home on maternity leave for the next three months...Yay, a playmate for me!!

Anyway, I made these snow baby ornaments as a Christmas gift for the big brother and the new baby sister.  This was one of our Christmas book crafts, but when I realized that they'd make a great "baby's first Christmas" ornament, I decided that both brother and sister needed one...with their names on it, of course.  They are fairly foolproof to make.  It's basically two yarn poms stacked on top of each other with felt faces glued on with hand-stitched eyes.  You can read her full step-by-step tutorial here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Small Miracle by Peter Collington

A Small Miracle by Peter Collington, is hands-down the best, most magical, most amazing book that we've read this Christmas.  It has definitely made it into my top five Christmas books of all time.

A Small Miracle is a modern fairytale about an impoverished, elderly woman who uses her last bit of life to perform an act of kindness by restoring the church Nativity display to order after a vandal leaves it in disarray.   As a result, she is repaid by the recipients of her kindness in a most miraculous way.  When she collapses in the snow, the figures from the Creche come to life and rescue her!  

This tale awakens the imagination of readers of all ages by telling the story without words.  Instead this story is told using 96 miniature pictures--each worth at least a thousand words!

One thing I absolutely loved was how each creche figure stayed true to character:  Joseph (the carpenter) fixed the woman's broken planks in her floor, while Mary kept watch over her, holding her hand.  And I love how the three wise men trade in their gifts to buy the things that the woman needs.  And because this story is set in modern day, we are afforded this awesome picture of the wise men shopping in a grocery store.  Next time, I'm grocery shopping with my kids, I'm going to be looking around for little wise men on a mission!

Because the author has paid so much attention to detail in his artwork, there is so much meaning to be gleaned from the pages of this book.  In doing this, the author illustrates many of the things that Christ himself taught his disciples to do:  Feed to poor, lift up the hands that hang down, comfort those that stand in need of comfort.  I don't know what became of the gifts that the Magi brought to the Christ child, but I'd imagine that they were traded in the service of others in a very similar way.  

I love the joy on the woman's face when she wakens to find all of her items returned, and warm food on the stove.  I also love seeing the many tiny footprints leading away from her little home.

We enjoyed talking about this story with my children during Family Home Evening last night. I told them that although the characters in the book were little people, they could still do a lot of good things, and even though my kids are little, they can still do big things for others.  

The only downside to this book is that I don't own it.  I have it on loan from my local library.  When I went online this morning to make it my own, I found that it costs anywhere from $66 to $115!!  I guess that means it's out of print!  IF I ever come into some money, you can be sure I'll be buying this one!!  What an incredible book!

Sorry, no craft today...I'm busy making these:

and caring for three sick kids...
and getting ready to host tonight's RS cookie exchange!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Paper Plate Angel Wings

Warning:  This craft just might blow your mind.

As you know, my kids have been helping Santa out this Christmas by caring for some of the people on his Good List.  Well, the big Man himself let me in on a little secret.

And he has given me permission to tell you about it...but sshhh, you must keep this hush, hush.  On Christmas Eve, Santa will be checking back in on my kids and the other children who take up the call to be Santa's little helpers...and this is what they will receive...their own set of angel wings to wear on Christmas!

Here are our three sets of wings.  Like, I said, Santa gave me special permission to show this to you, but not to my kids.

Do you know some special children who have earned their wings this year???

Then you MUST make these super easy and beautiful paper plate angel wings.

The woman who came up with this idea did it in a crunch.  That's true Mommy ingenuity!

Here's how they are made:

You will need:

10 paper plates
low-temp glue gun

First cut your wings like this.

Second, arrange eight on each side of a paper plate in wing-form and glue.

Third, glue another paper plate on top of the first plate to make it pretty and add ribbon straps.

You're done!  EASY, RIGHT?

This craft goes with our annual reading of The Littlest Angel.
To see my full list of Christmas Books & Crafts for 2010, click here.
To see my crafts from Christmas 2009, click here.

(Can't wait to see my little angels in these things!!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good King Wenceslas: Stained Glass Ornament Craft

Most of us have probably heard the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas", but many have probably never heard the lyrics beyond the first couple of lines:

"Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about deep and crisp and even."

When my husband and I were first married we decided that we wanted to start a few special traditions in our family.  One idea we had was to memorize a new Christmas carol every year around Christmastime.  For our first carol, we memorized "Good King Wenceslas".  We were drawn to it because of the obvious reference to "Stephen" (My husband's name is Steve.)  But we were also curious to find out what this song was all about.

"Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol about a king who goes out to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by the heat miraculously emanating from the king's footprints in the snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical SaintWenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (907–935), known in the Czech language as Svatý Václav. (Wikipedia)

Here is the full text of the song (in case you want to memorize it as the tons of spare time that you have! ;)  Written by John Mason Neale:

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing 

I found this picture book version of this beloved song at the library.  My kids seemed captivated by the story.  I took time to make sure they understood what was going on, since the language is sort of archaic.   The final line is, "Therefore, Christian men be sure, wealth or rang possessing.  Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing."

I talked with my kids about a family who is in need this Christmas.  They lost their home in a fire recently.  Guy immediately went to work gathering items to give to them.  He went straight for his "trampoline money"...a pot of coins and cash he's been saving since summertime in order to buy a trampoline.  He put the whole amount in the box to be given to this family who lost their home, of his own accord, without any hesitation.

Then he took his very soft pillow case off of his pillow to give away.  And it went on like this for a while.  I tell kids are earning their wings this Christmas, but that'll be another post.

When my husband and I were married, the temple officiator advised us to strive to "always be benevolent" in our marriage and in our lives.  The definition of benevolent:  well-meaning, kindly, serving a charitable rather than profit-making purpose, desiring to help others, organized for the purpose of doing good, marked by goodwill.

It is no wonder that as we strive to follow our Heavenly King, we must also work to cultivate these royal characteristics that are inside of each of us.

We also made these "stained-glass ornaments" to sort of mimic the artwork in the book.  They are super easy to make.  Here's how:

What you'll need:

Black self-adhesive craft foam
clear plastic wrap
cookie cutters
cookie pan
markers, scissors, glue, pencil

Trace around your cookie cutter shapes and cut out.

Then draw a 1/4 inch line inside the outer edge and cut out again.

Place plastic wrap flat on cookie sheet.  Place black craft foam on sheet, sticky-side down.

Using regular markers coat the plastic wrap inside of your black foam with ink.

Next flood the inside of your ornament with glue.  Careful to go to the edge, but not over.

Then let it dry for 8-12 hours or so.  The tutorial where I found this suggests 36 hours, but ours did not take nearly that long.  When it is dry, remove from plastic, insert ornament hooks, and they should look like this!  They look cool when the light shine through them, and since they are sticky on the back of the foam, you can also stick them to a window!

To see the craft that we did on this day last here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reindeer Food Recipe

Scarlett learned to sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at preschool, so she was very happy when our day to read Rudolph rolled around.  We asked Scarlett to read it to us, but she sang it to us instead.

We made these hand-print Rudolph cards to go with our "reindeer food".

Don't worry, it's ok for humans to eat too...and lots of it.

I received this recipe in the Christmas activity advent from my "secret sister:


12 cups Crispix cereal (approximately one box)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 bag)
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar


In a very large pot over low heat, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and add cereal, stirring gently to coat well.  Add the powdered sugar, a bit at a time, and continue stirring until mixture is completely combined.

Spread pieces on a cookie sheet or other clean, flat surface, separating them so they don't stick together.  Allow to cool.  Store in airtight container until ready to serve.

Makes about 12 1-cup servings.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Day in the Morning...Christmas Book Activity: Day 2

There are presents...and then there are gifts of the heart.  

 And "Christmas Day in the Morning" by Pearl S. Buck, is a story about giving a gift from the heart.  Our main character Rob recalls one special Christmas when he figures out how to really give of himself.  Unsatisfied with the tie that he has picked out for his father, Rob comes up with a special way to demonstrate his love for his father.  He wakes earlier than usual, before his father even, on Christmas morning to milk the cows, so that his father doesn't have a gift to be treasured for the rest of his life.  

My children seemed to identify with the thrill of doing a secret, kind act for another person that is evident as the boy jumps back into bed in the nick of time pretending to be asleep, waiting for his father to discover his Christmas surprise.

After reading this story, we talked about what kinds of gifts are most thoughtful and loving and how to give with the other person in mind.  But my kids have already demonstrated a good understanding of this concept.    The spirit of service and giving lives on in our household.  Guy really wanted to go "shovel" the neighbor's driveway tonight.  I was trying to talk him out of it, but he said, "Mom, do you remember that list that we got from Santa?"  And that was all that needed to be said.  So what if his version of shoveling results in more snow ending up on our neighbors driveway than before he started.  He is showing his love for them in his own way.

In order to preserve some of our own Christmas memories, we made these Memory Mitten ornaments to go with today's book.  I saw the idea at Twelve Crafts Till Christmas and she has a tutorial here.  To make these you simply trace around one of your child's mittens onto two pieces of felt.  (Instead of felt, Elizabeth repurposed an old sweater.)  Blanket stitch together and embellish according to your crafting tastes.  And last, but not least, have your children write (or tell you) their favorite Christmas/Family memories from the year and tuck them inside the mitten.  You can read them year after year as you decorate your tree.

Crafts of Christmas Past:
Want to know what book/craft we were working on this day last year?

Click here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Merry Craftmas

If you weren't hanging around my blog last December...which most of you weren't, then I strongly suggest that you go back and check out last year's posts...(all 24 of them!) they are full of stories, lessons, and crafts that you can do with your family to make the season bright for yourselves and others.

As you've read, all of the books that we are reading this Christmas are focused on GIVING of ourselves to others.  You can read our 2010 list here.

Here is the craft that we made the other day to go with the book "Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfectwhich is one of my very favorite stories from our readings last year!

In this story, all Christmas trees are perfect and hope for the day that they will be picked as the royal Christmas tree.  A tree named Small Pine starts off life perfectly beautiful and destined to become the royal Christmas tree one day.  When Small Pine allows animals in the woods to take shelter under his perfect branches, he finds that he doesn't look quite as perfect as he once did.  His branches droop where he has sheltered a rabbit.  There is a gap where he took in a bird from a storm.   What will the queen say when she sees him in this condition?  This book has such a simple, beautiful message for readers of all ages.

And this craft is quite manageable for even the youngest children.
(I assembled the trees myself and then let the kids decorate them by themselves, just for the sake of time.)

We made this adorable little felt Christmas tree by following this tutorial by That Artist Woman.  After the glued dried, we were left with such an adorable, bright little tree.  
Of course we took pictures of it...and gave it away.

You can see the craft that we did with this book last year by clicking here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jocelyn's List of the Best Christmas Books for Young Children 2010

Jocelyn's List 
of the 
Best Christmas Books for Young Children

This year's book list theme is: Teaching children the joy of giving to others!  Enjoy!

Dec 1: Who is coming to our house? by Joseph Slate
Craft: Paper Star

Dec 2: Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard H. Schneider
Craft: Felt tree

Dec 3:  The Animal’s Christmas Eve by Gale Wiersum
Craft:  Paper Nativity 

Dec 4: Humphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer

Dec 5:  Good King Wenceslas by Christopher Manson

Dec 6: Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck

December 7: We Were There: A Nativity Story by Eve Bunting

December 8:  Jingle The Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola
Craft:  Felt Ornament 

Dec 9:  The Donkey’s Dream by Barbara Helen Berger
Craft: from artwork

Dec. 10:  Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner

Dec 11:  My First Story of the First Christmas by Deanna Draper Buck

Dec. 12:  The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Craft:  Lamb Cutout Ornaments

Dec 13: Olivia Claus by Kama Einhorn

Dec 14:  This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten

Dec 15:  A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S. Monson

Dec 16:  The Christmas Orange (my own version)
Craft:  Christmas Oranges

Dec 17:  The Snowman Movie by Raymond Briggs

Dec 18:  The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving by Jan & Mike Berenstain

Dec 19:  A Small Miracle by Peter Collington

Dec 20:  On Christmas Eve by Peter Collington

Dec 21:  Santa Mouse  by Michael Brown

Dec 22:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May

Dec 23:  The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Craft:  Glittery Sugarplums

Dec 24:  The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
Craft: Angel Craft

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