Gingerbread Man Sugar Cookies

I love the idea of decorating gingerbread men during the holidays, but I don’t like the taste of gingerbread cookies! So, switching things up here and making “sugar cookie” gingerbread men in our house this year.

You will need:

  • Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • Butter
  • Gingerbread man cookie cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Decorating icing tubes, 3 colors of choice

I made these with my son. He loved rolling out the dough, and I loved showing him!

An even bigger hit was stamping out the gingerbread men.

He got a kick out of the fact that they look like little people.

Once they were baked, we laid them out to cool. Then we stored them in a large ziplock bag, setting them aside to decorate at our Christmas Eve party.

We decorated them with colored icing tubes after Christmas Eve dinner. Even Uncle Ian took a stab at it! A fun activity for both kids and adults.

Teaching Kids About Giving

I came up with this idea one night while talking to my son about Santa and presents and all the Christmas stuff he had been hearing. He just turned three years old, and this is the first Christmas he started to be curious with what was happening. He knew Santa was coming, and he had a sack of gifts (mostly learned all this from school and books and TV) but I wanted to be able to explain gift giving to him, not just receiving. So I decided I would take him Christmas shopping.

I went to Target and got a few packs of these brown kraft gift bags. We were having Christmas Eve at our house, and expecting ten family members, so I wrote each person’s name on the bags.

I brought my son to the Dollar Store, and brought the bags. I gave him a basket and explained to him that we were going to buy a special gift for each person, something that we thought would make them happy.

We walked through the store, I would name a person and give him the bag, and we would stroll through the aisles talking about things they liked, and what might make them smile.

He was having a blast. I was surprised he had an opinion about each person! I would suggest something, and sometimes he would say, “No, I want to give them this” and point to something else of his choice. How sweet!

When it was time to check out, I gave him a $20 bill, and explained that in order to buy our gifts, we will have to give the cashier money. He was armed with sunglasses for Daddy, a toy pony for his sister, a basketball and football for each of his Grandfathers, and Disney figurines for the Grandmas. Not to mention a set of bubbles for himself. I agreed that a gift for himself would be appropriate.

When we got home, we unloaded the gifts, put them in the appropriate bags, along with a handmade card for each person.

Christmas Card Art Project for Kids

I love giving my son arts and crafts projects at home. This Christmas greeting card project is super easy.

You will need:

  • 10 blank fold-over cards
  • Black sharpie marker
  • Kids markers
  • Glue
  • Gold glitter
  • Embellishments/stickers of choice

Use a black sharpie marker to draw the outline of a tree, and write each card recipients name on a card. Then give each one to your child to color them in.

Let them be creative! Green trees, or blue trees, in the lines or out of the lines – just have fun and let them explore their creative spirit.

Then for the parents, use the glue and just draw a simple zig-zag on each tree. Then sprinkle with glitter.

Lay the out on the table and let them dry for an hour or so. This will make the next step less messy.

Then let your child use the embellishments/stickers as “ornaments” on the trees. We used holly and snowflakes, found at the local craft store.

Pizza Party Fun with Kids

My son loves pizza! So I thought it would be fun to let him make his own for dinner one night, so he could see what ingredients it includes.

As always, we get everything we need from our trusty Trader Joes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Rustic Ciabatta Flatbread
  • 1 container pizza sauce
  • 1 pkg organic shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pkg sliced pepperoni (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425. Layer pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni on top of the flatbread. Cook for 8 minutes and enjoy!

 

Homemade (and healthy!) Gummy Bears

I got these adorable gummy bear molds and was so excited to create a healthy spin on one of my favorite candies. These are amazingly good!

Ingredients

Directions

  • Whisk lemon, honey and gelatin in a sauce pan until there are no lumps.
  • Heat over low heat until the mixture is completely liquified, stirring constantly.
  • Add lemon essential oil.
  • Pour mixture into mold of choice, or you can even use ice cube trays. I use this Gummy Bear Tray.
  • Refrigerate until firm.

Why not include the kids on the fun!

Mini Egg Cupcakes for Easter

EasterCupcakeThese Spring treats are easy to make when you have little ones around demanding your time and attention. Wouldn’t we all love to have the time to make things from scratch, but just because you can’t, it doesn’t mean you have to forgo fun altogether. These boxed brands are still super tasty, and don’t require a culinary school degree.

You will need:

  • 1 package of chocolate cupcake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 16 oz container of Pillsbury Creamy Surpreme Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  • 1 bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs
  • 1 package of Edible Easter Grass
  • 1 package white paper cupcake cups

Just follow the packaging instructions and decorate the tops with the Cadbury eggs and grass. Have fun with it, and even include the kids!

 

Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids

What to do when your son starts his first day of nursery school on Valentine’s Day, and the Valentine’s you ordered never got delivered? Well, if you are a Graphic Designer, then at 10pm the night before, you get on the computer and start designing! I created these adorable cards on the fly, and was pretty happy with how they came out.

Art Project for Kids: Valentine Cards

I love celebrating holidays with the kids, and including them with children’s art projects.

I bought a bunch of paper and stickers from Michaels.

I just lay everything out on the floor in the living room and let him create! Try not to hover over and tell them how to do it “right”. Just let them do their own thing.

DIY Kids Mickey Mouse Birthday Themed Banner

My son LOVES Mickey Mouse, so of course his 2nd birthday party was themed with the iconic character. I made this printable banner, printed on cardstock and cut out with scissors. Then use a thin red ribbon to string it together. The printable version here is not customized with a name, so that it can be used for any child. Enjoy!

Toddler Painting Project

behappy3I loved arts and crafts as a child, and couldn’t wait to share that passion with my son as soon as he was old enough. At about 1 1/2 years old I thought I’d give it a try! I put together this easy painting project that would double as a keepsake, and we could give to his grandparents as Christmas gifts.

What you’ll need:

  • Paint Brush Set
  • Paint Set
  • Printable Cardstock
  • Tape
  • Scissors

You may have these things around the house already. If not, you can get most items at your local craft store.

behappy1Step 1: Printing – In Microsoft Word, or whatever publishing software you have access to, type out a phrase that is meaningful to your child, and select a font that you like. I used the font Bromello, if you’d like to use it, you can get a free download here. I displayed the saying, “Be happy”, because it is something my son just happens to say a lot. If you want to go with the same phrase, feel free to download the pdf of the document I created.

For each final art piece you want to make, print out two copies on 8.5×11 letter sized cardstock. So if you want to make 1 painting, print 2 copies; if you want to make 2 paintings, print 4 copies, and so fourth. It is better to print out on thicker paper so the paint doesn’t leak through or cause the paper to curl.

behappy2Step 2: Cut out and layer. Cut out the wording on one sheet of your printouts. Then place a piece of tape on the bottom and layer it on top of your other 8.5×11 sheet, right over the wording.This will protect the words from getting painted over and covered completely.

Step 3: Set up the paint area – you will want to line the table with something to protect it from any spills. I use a roll of wrapping paper and just spread it on the surface and tape the edges down to the table. Some tips for mom (I learned the hard way): Put a portion of paint onto the palette and have everything set up before sitting your toddler down. If you start opening the paints and setting up with him there, he may want to open it himself, spill it, dump it out – you know how opinionated our little independent toddlers are!

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Step 4: Have fun! At this point let them explore the colors and how the brush feels pushing the paint around. Try to back off and let them experiment creatively. Note on the photo here: Some days my son can’t do anything without his buddy Mickey Mouse.

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behappy6Step 5: Frame it! If you are making these into gifts or just framing for home, you can get simple frames at your local craft store.