These Are So Cute I Just Couldn’t Pass Them Up!

Fingerprint Twinkle Light Painting

Fingerprint Light Painting
 Crafty Morning

A twirled, swirly marker line acts as the cord for a string of painted Christmas lights in this festive artwork. Little ones press colorful fingerprints and thumbprints sporadically along the wire, and can finish with a written holiday message. Details like a shiny white glint on each bulb (puffy paint or glitter glue are perfect) bring this piece to the next level. This handmade artwork makes a great personalized Christmas card or gift tag.

Fingerprint Twinkle Light Painting from Crafty Morning

Footprint Reindeer

Footprint Reindeer
  Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Embrace getting a bit messy with this craft! Press a bunch of kid-sized footprints onto plain paper, let dry, and add reindeer features. Opt to draw a pair of eyes, antlers, and a red nose, or use plastic wandering eyes and fuzzy pom poms for a three dimensional effect.

Footprint Reindeer from Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Cotton Swab Snowflakes

Cotton Swab Snowflakes
  Little Passports

Cotton swabs bring the magic of a holiday snowstorm indoors with this festive snowflake artwork. Adults should trim a handful of cotton swabs at various lengths, then preschoolers can work on puzzle solving and symmetry skills by arranging snowflakes. Regular school glue adheres cotton swabs to card stock, then these are ready to hand around the room.

Cotton Swab Snowflakes from Little Passports

More Fun Holiday Creations!

Yogurt Cup Rudolph

Yogurt Cup Rudolph
  I Heart Crafty Things

Turn empty yogurt cups into an art supply with this adorable reindeer DIY. Kids can paint the clean, empty, yogurt cup Rudolph-brown, then glue on a set of eyes and a glowing red nose. Metallic pipe cleaners work well for Rudy’s antlers, and a few of these recycled reindeer clustered together make an especially lovely centerpiece.

I have made the following popsicle ornament into darling frames for photos. They are so much fun to view each year as baby grows!!! wonderful memoirs for grandparents and you!!

Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree

Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree
  One Little Project

If you start with colored craft sticks, this quick project doesn’t require any messy paint or markers. Parents should hot glue Christmas tree triangles together, and kids can add flair with glitter, pom poms, and mini jingle bells. Make a whole set to display as homemade decor; these popsicle stick Christmas trees look darling strung together in a homemade garland.

Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree from One Little Project

Everyone loves the candy cane reindeer. They make great small gifts for neighbors or classmates! Darling decorations on packages! So fun!!

Candy Cane Reindeer

Candy Cane Reindeer
 Elizabeth LaBau

Another great option for a low-cost craft, these candy cane reindeer will add a touch of kitsch to your Christmas decor. Simply glue on teeny red pom pom noses and googly eyes, then twist a length of brown pipe cleaner antlers around the candy cane curve. If you’d prefer to keep your candy canes totally edible, swap out the craft glue for royal icing.

Candy Cane Reindeer from The Spruce

Paper Bag Reindeer

Paper Bag Reindeer
 The Chirping Moms 

When little ones can spend a crafty afternoon creating their own playthings, that’s a parent win-win. Use a brown paper bag as the base for this hand puppet, then add eyes and a red nose face. Trace kids’ hands onto construction paper, then cut and paste onto the bag for antlers. This project is so simple, kids will want to create a whole team of reindeer to play with.

Paper Bag Reindeer from The Chirping Moms

Fun Holiday Projects for Little Ones

At this time of year Little ones and their friends are underfoot looking for something to do. I love projects that use household items and allow kids to use their own creativity!!! Stocking snowmen, glittered pinecone tree ornaments, and hand print plaques are just a few of the darling ideas in the article below.

Pull out the popsicle sticks, glitter, old socks, pipe cleaners, tacky glue, and get started!! I keep a small box on a shelf in the garage and add these items through out the year when find them. God spray paint is a great addition as well a googly eyes and any pretty things to glue on for decoration!

Grama and Grampa love these happy creations on their trees to remind them of the younger years of their grand babies. You will too!!!

Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree

Sock Snowman

  All Free Sewing

Given up on finding mates for a couple of odd socks hanging out in the laundry room? Put them to work as wintry snowmen with this easy tutorial. Little ones will love meticulously filling their sock with uncooked rice, rubber-banding it into a snowman, and decorating with buttons and paint. An adult can help by sewing (or gluing) everything securely shut.

Sock Snowman from All Free Sewing

Pine Cone Ornament

Pine Cone Ornament
 Lovely Indeed

Head out to the yard to gather supplies for this tried-and-true Christmas craft. A clean pine cone works great as a rustic base for glue and glitter. Set kids to work glittering in a shallow plastic container to simply cleanup later. Wire ornament hooks attach pretty easily to one of the upper pine cone scales, but a partially unbent paper clip or bit of yarn would work in a pinch too.

Pine Cone Ornament from The Spruce

Handprint Ornament

Handprint Ornament
  The Imagination Tree

Capture a moment in time by printing your toddler’s palm into a mound of homemade salt dough. This project is perfect for the littlest crafters—they can help with everything from mixing up the dough, pushing their hands in, and painting the piece once it’s dried overnight. Tie a piece of string through to turn these into ornaments, and add them to the tree or wrap them for the perfectly DIYed grandparents’ gift.

Handprint Ornament from The Imagination Tree

‘The Five Love Languages’ by Dr. Gary Chapman

As you become acquainted with people their differences are amazing! Some are quiet and reserved, some are the life of the party, some enjoy time alone, and some seem not to care. If these people are acquaintances, you might pay attention and observe or it might not really matter. If they are ones with whom you spend much time, family members, co-workers, or dear friends, how they perceive you becomes more important.

Dr. Gary Chapman discovered a way to observe and tailor specific qualities to relationships. He entitled them ‘Love Languages’ and describes them in his book of the same name. Love Languages are ways in which the people close to you appreciate you most. For some, a kind word makes their day. For others it might be a hug or sitting together talking. A small gift is appreciated by many and a kind act is the best for others. Here is an explanation of the ways to show love in Dr. Chapman’s book. I hope it blesses you.

Words of affirmation

One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up. Solomon, author of ancient Hebrew Wisdom Literature, wrote, “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21, NIV). Many families have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other.

Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love. They are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation, such as:  “You look sharp in that suit.”  “You are such a loving son!”

“I really like how you think of ways to help me.”  “You can always make me laugh.”

Words of affirmation are one of the five basic love languages. Within that language, however, there are many dialects. All of the dialects have in common the use of words to affirm your family. Psychologist William James said that possibly the deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated. Words of affirmation will meet that need in many individuals.

Quality time

By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television together. When you spend time that way, Netflix or HBO has your attention — not your child. What I mean is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, devices put away, giving each other your undivided attention. It means taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking.

Time is a precious commodity. We all have multiple demands on our time, yet each of us has the exact same hours in a day. We can make the most of those hours by committing some of them to those we love. If your child’s primary love language is quality time, she simply wants you, being with her, spending time.

Receiving gifts

Almost everything ever written on the subject of love indicates that at the heart of love is the spirit of giving. All five love languages challenge us to give to our family, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest.

A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him or her a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him or her. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.

But what of the person who says, “I’m not a gift giver. I didn’t receive many gifts growing up. I never learned how to select gifts. It doesn’t come naturally for me.” Congratulations, you have just made the first discovery in becoming a great lover. You and your loved one speak different love languages. Now that you have made that discovery, get on with the business of learning your second language. If your child’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn.

Acts of service

Michelle’s primary love language was what I call “acts of service.” By acts of service, I mean doing things you know your child would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her.

For adults consider actions such as cooking a meal, setting a table, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, changing the baby’s diaper, picking up a prescription, keeping the car in operating condition — they are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.  For your child it can be as simple as reading a book, playing peek-a-boo, taking a walk together, going to the park, playing catch on the floor with a big ball, the possibilities are endless!

A willingness to examine and change stereotypes is necessary in order to express love more effectively. Remember, there are no rewards for maintaining stereotypes, but there are tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of those you love. If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, then “actions speak louder than words.”

Physical touch

We have long known that physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love. Numerous research projects in the area of child development have made that conclusion: Babies who are held, stroked and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact.

Physical touch is also a powerful vehicle for communicating love. For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. Without it, they feel unloved. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in the love of their family members.

Implicit love touches require little time but much thought, especially if physical touch is not your primary love language and if you did not grow up in a “touching family.” Sitting close to each other as you watch your favorite television program, sit in the car, or wait at a restaurant requires no additional time but may communicate your love loudly. Touching your spouse as you walk through the room where he is sitting takes only a moment. Touching each other when you leave the house and again when you return may involve only a brief kiss or hug but will speak volumes to your spouse.

Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination on ways to express love.

Dr. Gary Chapman is a family counselor, radio host, associate pastor and author of several books, including The Five Love Languages and One More Try.

Practice Thankfulness!!!

As we move into the holiday season finding peace is a major topic. Why is this? Schedules become hectic, there are activities to attend, projects to complete, and gifts to purchase. If we are not careful we have forgotten the reasons we do these things and become crazy people. Especially this year as there have been so many interruptions in our lives. Stress and frustration are lying just under the surface to sabotage us!!

Memories are what we are going for here. How will our kids remember the holidays in our homes? Will there be visions of homemade cookies, fun games, family? Or will they think of sitting in the car waiting for us to complete our lists?

Developing a grateful attitude will literally change you life! It will infuse hope and joy into your days. It will open up your life to positive happy thoughts. You will be amazed!!

Tips to fit gratitude into your life

Ready to begin? Here are ten ways to become a more thankful person

Every day, say aloud three good things that happened. This can be a fun activity to do with your kids when you tuck them in, or around the dinner table with family, but it’s also extremely powerful to express gratitude aloud when you’re alone.

Keep a gratitude journal. Jot down the small things from your day that mattered to you, like the few minutes of quiet time you had on your drive to work, or the fact that this afternoon’s rain storm didn’t flood your basement. If you’re having a particularly rough day, you can look back through the pages of accumulated blessings in your life.

Say thanks to your partner. Couples who express gratitude toward one another set up a powerful feedback loop of intimacy and trust, where both partners feel as if their needs are being met.

Cool a hot temper with a quick gratitude inventory. One of the quickest ways to dispel the energy of a stormy mood is to focus your attention on what’s good. So when you’re about to lash out at someone, take a moment to do a quick inventory of five things you’re thankful for in the moment. It could be your good health, clean air, or even the recent switch to a cheaper cell-phone bill—these details will help you relax and avoid saying something you’ll later regret.

Thank yourself. Gratitude doesn’t always need to be focused on what other people have done for you! Make sure you give yourself a thank-you for the healthy habits you’ve cultivated in your own life, such as eating plenty of veggies or giving yourself enough time for rest each night.

Use technology to send three gratitude messages a week. Find yourself tethered to your cell phone or the internet for hours each day? Harness the power of this technology to send out some good vibes, such as a text or Facebook comment, to tell your friends why you appreciate them. Savor the good moments. If you notice you’re feeling happy, stop what you’re doing and pay attention for a few minutes. Notice exactly how you feel, including the sensations in your body and the thoughts you’re having. Later, when you’re trying to inspire gratitude, you can remember this moment and experience the benefits all over again.

Check for silver linings. Even the most difficult life challenges come with some benefit—you just have to look to find them. Being sick draws the compassion of friends. Making a mistake teaches you a lesson. When things feel hard, ask yourself: What’s good here?

Look outward, not inward.  Robert Emmons says people are more likely to feel grateful when they put their focus on others, rather than getting caught up in their own inner narratives about how things should have gone. Empathy for others can trigger a sense of gratitude, and people who have an outward focus tend to experience stronger benefits.

Change your perspective. If you struggle to come up with something to feel grateful for, put yourself in the shoes of someone who is experiencing misfortunes greater than your own. Recalling a colleague who has a debilitating physical condition, for example, will inspire gratitude for your own healthy body, which you may have taken for granted otherwise.