A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Month: November 2020

Make Christmas Special

Whether you are creating your own Christmas cozy or you are shopping for that perfect gift, I have some great ideas for you!  Read on for some fun & unique ideas that you can order to make Christmas special!

I want to share with you some of the great companies I have partnered with.  By taking the time to research each company and then placing an order with them, my hope is to help take the guesswork out of it for you.  I pay close attention to the value of the product received as well as the shipping methods.  What is left are companies that I have come to love and feel very comfortable sharing them with you!

Decor Steals ~

I have absolutely fallen in love with this online-only company.  They offer affordable, timeless home decor pieces.  It is a daily deal site that offers three new products each and every day at 10 a.m.  The “steals” are available for 24 hours or until they sell out.  However, there are many other incredible items to shop as well.  In fact, I love their products so much that I signed up to get the daily email because their daily “steals” are gorgeous!

I have ordered several of their products and have been very happy with EVERYTHING!  *ps…I especially love the Love You More blanket!  They very clearly post in the description of each item how long it will take the product to leave their warehouse.  Every item has different shipping times, so pay attention to that!  Below is just a sampling of their vintage home decor:

Meddy Teddy ~

From previous posts, you all know how much we LOVE Meddy Teddy.  He is truly one of the best teddy bears out there!  Looking for that perfect gift for your child or grandchild?  This is it!!!  Seriously!  Not only is he fully poseable and huggable, but he also helps introduce yoga and meditation to children.

When you go to their site, you will see all of the cute little accessories as well.  Who doesn't love accessories???  While I cannot express enough how much my grandchildren love theirs, you will need to order soon to get this little guy in time for Christmas.

You will LOVE all the Meddy Teddy items!!!

ETSY ~

Please tell me you have ordered from Etsy.  In fact, if you have a favorite shop owner, please share it with me!  We all know the importance of shopping small business and this is your opportunity!  My girls and I LOVE so many UNIQUE items that we have ordered from this amazing site.

There are truly so many fabulous items to choose from so these following links break it down by section for you:

Check out this fabulous home decor--for gifting and of course to refresh your home decor as well! 😉
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Here are some great bath and beauty ideas for that special someone!
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Shop popular items on everyone's list!
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Because a girl can NEVER have too many accessories!
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Paper House ~

Are you tired of getting the same old stocking stuffers?  Then you MUST check out The Paper House.  What a fun company with loads of unique ideas!  This high quality company offers cards, magnets, papers, and clever gifts at great prices.  Some of the products include albums, bookmarks, bundles, paper crafting kits and washi tape.

Below is just a sample of what all they offer.....what are you waiting for????  You can click on any of the pics below or just go directly to their warehouse sale ➡➡➡Take me to the Paper House warehouse sale now!!!

Owl Post Books ~

There is truly NOTHING that tops the value of reading for kids!  We all know the many benefits of teaching the love of reading to kids at an early age.  Of course, it only gets better if they get to run out to the mailbox each month for their own personal subscription box.  Bonus...it comes in a fun box for them to color!

Owl Post Books offers different subscriptions for different age groups.  You can also choose for grab bags or book of the month club.  The craft that is included is icing on the cake.  Addi & Max get excited every time they get their subscription.  In fact, we have had to settle a fight or two over who gets what!

 

What could be better than finding unique products from companies you know you can depend on.  I hope that I can help you just a little bit in your Christmas preparations by bringing you some new stores to visit...online!  It is important to me that each and every follower knows how very much I appreciate them!  I will always work hard to find great values and share good ideas!  We are all in this together as we strive to make Christmas special...this year and every year!

 

 

You’ve Been Socked – A Christmas Game

The Halloween shenanigans have been put away for another year…now let’s start spreading some Christmas cheer!  Have you been socked?  If you haven’t, it’s time to start a new family neighborhood tradition.  Let’s do some ding dong ditching…”Christmas Style!”  Read on for directions and free printables for this festive activity of You’ve Been Socked – A Christmas Game!

Get the whole family involved ~

I am all about family fun and creating memories!  This game delivers all of that!   You should start this activity out by letting the family decide who you are going to “sock.”  Typically each family will “hit” one or two homes.  Also, as the kids get a bit older, you may discover that they might want to “sock” their school friends.  Taking it to other neighborhoods just spreads the fun!

Whether you are going by foot or vehicle, you need to plan your escape route next.  Have you participated in ding dong ditching?  The idea is to go up, ring the doorbell and run without getting caught.  The catch to “You’ve Been Socked” is you are also leaving a fun treat before you run.   I wrote about the Halloween version of this in October.  Read the Halloween version called You’ve Been Booed!  We found ourselves rolling (literally) with laughter as we played You’ve Been Booed.

Over the years, you will find that there is much more to this than just spreading holiday cheer.  The memories you create will be relived over and over.  The kids also get the biggest kick out of trying to find out who “socked” them.

Get those stockings filled ~

The family togetherness continues as you head to the store(s) of your choosing to get the goodies.  Choose the stockings you would like to fill.  These can be whatever size you desire.  Select items that are age appropriate for the family you are socking.  Some fun ideas are listed below:

  • Christmas candy
  • Small toys
  • Homemade goodies
  • Small games
  • Holiday puzzles
  • Personal sized snacks
  • Stickers
  • Candles
  • Festive books
  • Lottery tickets
  • Seasonal socks

Final preparations ~

After you and your elves have filled the stockings, it’s time to complete the final steps.  Make a copy of “You’ve Been Socked” to include with the stocking.  You can attach it to the stocking or roll it up and put it inside.  Also include a copy of “We’ve Been Socked” for your recipients to display in their window.  The idea is that each house only get “socked” once!

You’ve Been Socked – A Christmas Game ~

NOW IT IS TIME FOR THE FUN!!!  Put those running shoes on…seriously!  This is important!  You don’t need to be dressed fancy when you are playing a good game of “You’ve Been Socked!”  Go over your strategy again with the whole family.  It truly brings extra fun by listening to your kids discuss their game plan.  Once you have agreed upon your escape route, gather your stockings and go deliver your goodies…WITHOUT GETTING CAUGHT!

It’s important to decide on a meeting place after you have rung the doorbell and dropped the goodies.  Everyone starts getting giddy and they will end up running all different directions.  The hope is that whichever way they go, you all end up at the meeting point. This is part of the fun as you reminisce later over what actions each of you took.

Free Printables for You’ve Been Socked ~

Use the link I have provided below to get the 2 pages needed for this game.   Hover over the pages and then click.  That will take you to the printable version.  Print as many as you need:

You’ve Been Socked & We’ve Been Socked Printables

Other Ding Dong Ditch Holiday Games ~

There are other versions of this game as well.  One that is especially cute is You’ve Been Elfed.  I have looked at several versions and really love the one by Craft.Create.Cook.  She includes printables for Elf Boot Bags to print as well as the We’ve Been Elfed papers.  Definitely another fun version of this very fun holiday activity.  The link for this version is included here ➡➡ You’ve Been Elfed by CraftCreateCook.com.

A second option is You’ve Been Jingled.  It’s Written on The Wall has provided a wonderful plan for this version of the game.  Be sure to check out her ideas as well here ➡➡ You’ve Been Jingled by Itswrittenonthewalls.blogspot.com.

Suffice it to say, there are MANY options out there.  I chose the sock version as it is easy to purchase a stocking.  Besides, I like the saying “You’ve Been Socked!”  However, the versatility and craftiness of all of the games are wonderful.  Regardless of the one you choose, just get out there and spread some holiday cheer!

 

 

 

Try Adding a New Thanksgiving Tradition

Why not?  It’s 2020…the year of everything different!  Are you having a small Thanksgiving gathering or will yours be a bit bigger?  Regardless of the size, I believe this is a great time to try adding a new Thanksgiving tradition to your tried and true favorites!

Thanksgiving Tablescapes ~

Do you have a favorite way you like to decorate your Thanksgiving table or do you prefer to change it up each year?  Here are some festive ideas along with little extras to make it fun as well as pretty.

A Thanksgiving Table Glowing with Candles ~

One of the things I love about tablescaping is “shopping your house” to find new ways to bring old pieces back to life.  Les Cultivateur demonstrates this so well by using a lot of old candlesticks to create a new look:

Check out these great tips from Lecultivateur.com on how to use everyday items to create a beautiful Thanksgiving table!

Candles, candles, candles!  Such a cozy and intimate display.  She also gives a great tutorial on how to make your own “rustic” candlesticks from unfinished wood pieces purchased from a craft store.  Please also take the time to see how she crafted a wood riser as well.  This exquisite table is finished off by “shopping outdoors” to add some beautiful greenery to finish the look.

A Thanksgiving Table with Nature’s Bounties ~

Simple and beautiful ideas from Eat.sleep.decorate.blogspot.com for a beautiful Thanksgiving table!

Do you have trees around you with various nuts or other fun seedlings?  Shop outdoors for natures beauties and fill different glass votives and hurricanes (but remember to leave some for our furry outdoor friends).  She also suggests adding some dried peas or kidney beans for additional color…what a fantastic idea!  Place beautiful greenery from evergreen or holly trees and bushes underneath the glassware to complete the look.

A Thanksgiving Clad with Turkeys ~

Homeiswheretheboatis.com shows beautiful turkey displays as well as a napkin folding tutorial!

I must say, while it is not a necessity, I LOVE the idea of working a turkey or two in on the table somewhere…in addition to the one you will be eating!  Whether you have a beautiful turkey to display as the centerpiece, small turkey napkin holders or maybe you want to fold your napkins in the fancy fantail design.  Home is where the boat is gives a great tutorial on the fantail napkin folding to create a nice “turkey” tail.

Let’s Not Forget the Kid’s Thanksgiving Table ~

Free printables and GREAT ideas for the kid’s Thanksgiving table from Thinkmakeshareblog.com

The creative studios of Hallmark at Think.make.share.blog have included numerous fun Thanksgiving printables.  Make the kid’s Thanksgiving table festive and fun!  They have supplied everything from placemats and activity books to turkey place cards.  Place terra cotta pots filled with crayons at each setting.  Add small bowls of appetizer snacks to keep them busy while you are finishing the cooking!

Fun Conversation Starters ~

Conversation starters from Ohmy-creative.com is a fun addition to your Thanksgiving Table!

You may not NEED these in your family, however, please give them a second thought.  If you have been following my blog, you saw the Kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving.  (If you missed it, here is the link:  Kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving from Mimiblog.org) There is great value of anything written by family members over the years.  If you are diligent at saving items, these handwritten gems can become great mementos over the years!

Traditions are so important!  Everyone looks forward to those “special” Thanksgiving recipes each year.  This year more than ever, we need to add some fun and festive ideas to the remainder of the year.  Keep those old traditions, but why not add a new Thanksgiving tradition into the mix this year!

Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2

“I’m going to get my Christmas shopping done early this year!”  How many times have you heard yourself making this statement?  For those of you who follow through, great job!  I always have great intentions but don’t always follow through.  However, I’m doing it this year! 😁 The great part about that is I am trying to help all of you as well.   Welcome to the Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2!

Below are some GREAT deals on toys.  If they seem interesting to you, click on them to check them out further on Amazon.  What’s the catch?  PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE DATE THE SALE EXPIRES!  These are special deals they allow us to offer to our readers, but they only last a short time.  It is also first come, first served.  The deal lasts as long as they have the product.  Once it sells out, the deal is over!

So what are you waiting for????  Check out these great deals on the Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2!!!

Deals Good From November 8 – November 10 ~

WATER DOODLE MAT ~ 30% OFF

Large, portable water mat with water pens and 2 drawing molds.

5 FOOT 10 KEYS FLOOR PIANO MAT ~ 61% OFF

5 foot 10 keys floor keyboard mat with 8 instrumental sounds AND adjustable volume!

DINOSAUR STATION CLEANING SET ~ 30% OFF

6-1 Cleaning tools with detachable dinosaur doll!

FLOWER BUILDING TOY GARDEN BLOCKS ~ 50% OFF

101 pieces are included in this flower building toy garden set!

Deals Good From November 8 – November 12 ~

MEXICAN TRAIN DOMINOES WITH ALUMINUM CASE ~ 40% OFF

91 Tile Number Dominoes, 1 Aluminum Case, 1 Instruction Booklet, 9 Colorful Small Trains, 1 Scoreboard, 1 Octagon Hub

6 IN 1 SOLAR ROBOT STEM SCIENCE KIT ~ 50% OFF

Create 6 different working models!

3D WOODEN TOY BLOCK SET ~ 50% OFF

Kids can use their imagination for hours with this 3D wooden toy block house set!

PRETEND MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLE SET ~ 45% OFF

Anyone will love this adorable makeup and hair set that also comes with a lot of accessories!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 13 ~

3D COLORING PUZZLE SET ~ 50% OFF

4 Animals that each form into a puzzle.  12 markers are included in this fun set!

REMOTE CONTROL TOY CAR ~ 50% OFF

Remote control, double sided, toy car with rotating 360 degree flips…this one will go fast!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 14 ~

BATH TOY ~ DIY BATH PIPES ~ 40% off

2 Modes for Basic & Advanced bath time play.  Multiple combinations are available for creative play.

MATCH & SPELL BOARD GAMES ~ 40% OFF

Kids will LOVE learning alphabet and spelling skills with this match & spell board game!

LARGE JEWELRY MAKING KIT ~ 20% OFF

This is a must have for all craft lovers.  A large jewelry making kit with 24 colors!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 21 ~

BLUETOOTH WIRELESS KARAOKE MICROPHONE ~ 45% OFF

Many colors available in this fun gift that all children LOVE to perform with!

Deals Good from November 8 – November 23 ~

18″ DOLL CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES – 19 PIECES ~ 23% OFF

19 Pieces which includes outfits, shoes, underwear, headbands and caps.

32 KEY PIANO KEYBOARD ~ 40% OFF

Musical kids piano keyboard with micorphone!

KIDS EASY FEED GOLF SET ~ 50% OFF

Kids will love this easy ball feed golf set with adjustable clubs.

I hope you find some of these deals perfect fits for all of your little ones!   I love finding great deals.  Even better…I love sharing great deals!  If there are specific toys you are on the hunt for, drop me a note and I will be happy to keep my eye out for good deals!

Happy early shopping to you all on this Early Toy Flash Sale – Round 2!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving

There are many great ideas out there to help children learn gratitude.  Honestly, I don’t think you can ever focus on this too much.  Of course, in the month of November everyone is looking for fun ideas to help foster thankfulness.  Making a kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving is at the top of my list of favorite activities.

Family Tradition ~

I started this AWESOME activity with my kids years ago.  Through the years, I have found this to be one of those projects that all ages enjoy.  What’s even better is that the  fun goes on throughout the whole month of November.  I would draft a letter each year to print out and send to all of our friends and family members.  Seriously, the more you send out the better.  If you would like the kids to help, they can address the envelopes, stick on return address labels or adhere the stamps.

This project takes some time, but it is WELL WORTH the effort.  Swordfights & Starry Nights has done a great job on writing about this amazing activity as well:  Click here to see Swordfights & Starry Nights Gratitude Tree project!

They did such a great job of explaining the process of how they made the tree.  Be sure to check out the link above for detailed instructions.

The Letter to Mail Out ~

You must first draft a letter (or use the one I have included below) explaining what your project is all about.   Explain that your family is making a Gratitude Tree and you would love for them to be a part of it.  Tell them you have included one leaf for each member of their family.  They should write what they are thankful for on their individual leaves.

Once each family finishes their leaves, they are asked to return them back to you.   All of the returned leaves will help create a very colorful Tree of Gratitude.  This letter needs to go out to everyone in early November so there is ample time to receive them back.  The following link is ready for you to print and send out right away.  Click here for FREE Thankfulness Tree Letter to Mail to Family and Friends!

While your letters are printing, you can begin the next step.

Cutting Out Leaves ~

This part can get time consuming so you will want all hands on deck!  There are many options of getting the leaves ready to be mailed out:

Option 1: 

Download these free leaves templates and cut them out.  There are three pages here to allow for a colorful kid’s Gratitude Tree.  A blank box has been inserted in the middle of each leaf for easier writing .  A picture is included below  for you to look over.  Keep in mind that these leaves have more detailed edges which requires more intricate cutting.  However, if kids understand they do not have to be “perfect” this step will go much smoother.

   

If you like this option, you can download the templates here:  Use this link to print the 3 different pages of Thankfulness leaves!

Option 2:

Real Imprints has a wonderful page dedicated to the Grateful Tree.  She has included 3 different size of leaf stencils for you to print out.  I would print these on card stock paper in different colors.  She also includes how she makes the tree (which we will discuss later).  This is a perfect rendition of the tree the kids and I would make each year so check it out.  Free Printables of the Grateful Tree from Real Imprints

Option 3:

There are several places you can purchase pre-cut leaves.  I would recommend this option if you are short on time….or patience!  Personally, our family found it fun to work on the leaves together, but I do understand that may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Here are some good options for locating ready to go leaves:

*Hobby Lobby ~ they have some pretty ones on nice card stock.  They are a bit smaller than I like, but they will definitely work.

*Michael’s Craft Store

*Jo-Ann Fabric

*Amazon ~ As always, there are several options here:

Set of 50 Yellow “I Am Thankful For” Leaves ~ These will create one beautiful solid color tree.  The leaves are all pre-printed with the beginning phrase, “I am thankful for…”

Set of 9 different leaf styles and 7 different colors to make a colorful Gratitude Tree ~ Would you like a colorful fall tree?  No need to look further!   The leaves are not pre-printed which gives the option for each person to write it as they wish.

Set of orange, yellow & brown all maple leaves for one style Gratitude Tree ~ An option for those who prefer all of the leaves to be the same style yet still add some color.

Make a List ~

Make a list of every family you are sending the letter to.   After each family name, write the number of leaves you will need to include in the envelope.  This is a fun way to work on counting with smaller children.  For those who are a bit older, it is a good lesson on sorting as they choose different colors for each family.

Assemble and Mail ~

Have everyone help in folding the letters and include the correct number of leaves in each one.  Let the children mark off each family on the list as it is completed.  Apply your return address and stamp.  Now go mail those babies out!  Phew!  BIG PROJECT…LOTS OF FUN!!!

Creating the Tree ~

You can choose to do this part now or wait a few days.  I always liked to go ahead and make the tree and let the kids fill out a couple of leaves themselves.  This helps them to see what you are creating together.  They will get more excited as the leaves start to be returned.  My kids looked forward to going to the mailbox each day to see if there were any new ones they had received.  It doesn’t take long for this kid’s gratitude tree for Thanksgiving to come to life!

The most important thing to remember is that perfection is not key here.  Just make the tree and it will come together as you fill it with leaves.  I used a roll of butcher paper and started with a large tree trunk.  We assembled our tree on a door in our kitchen so that everyone could easily watch it slowly fill up.  After your trunk is drawn, start adding branches.  When this is complete, cut it out and adhere to the door or wall.

I many times get lucky and find rolls of butcher paper for the kid’s Gratitude Tree for Thanksgiving at the Dollar Tree.  If you do not have luck doing this, here is a handy link from Amazon:  Click here for brown Kraft butcher paper roll.

A Blooming Tree ~

As the leaves start getting returned, let the kids start putting the leaves on the various branches your have drawn.  It doesn’t take long for this beautiful tree to burst with colorful leaves of thankfulness.  The whole family will enjoy reading the different responses.  This also helps them to understand the many, many things we all have to be thankful for.

Save those Leaves ~

When Thanksgiving has passed, it is time to disassemble the tree.  I chose to save the leaves every year.  This has proven to be a very beautiful thing.  As each year passes, it is fun to look back on what everyone was thankful for each year.  Have those things changed or stayed the same? Also, as we unfortunately lose some of our beloved family members, it creates great memories to hold on to.  A perfect example is this little gem I recently came across….

One of my dad’s leaves!!!  Oh how happy I am to have this very special leaf!!!!

I hope you all find this craft to be a very worthwhile experience.  My family sure did!

Happy Thanksgiving to all~

Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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