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

Tag: Christmas

DIY Pom Pom Gnomes & More!

While I have always thought gnomes to be cute, I have to say I have not been a gnome collector….until now!  Oh my goodness!  Whether it is because they are simply adorable or that making them has become quite theraputic, I am totally enjoying these DIY Pom Pom Gnomes and More!

A quick search on Pinterest will show you MANY ways of making yarn pom poms.   I have made pom poms over the years for various crafts, and I can honestly say I have tried MANY methods!  However, the one method I refuse to try is using a purchased pom pom maker.  I try to be as thrifty as I can so that is just not an option for me…and mine have still turned out fluffy and full!

Supplies Needed ~

  • yarn
  • scissors (sharp and with pointy tip)
  • serving fork, wooden fork, credit card, or cardboard cut about 1 1/4″ wide X 1 1/4″ wide
  • hot glue gun
  • embellishments for nose:  wooden ball, small stones, pearl balls, etc.
  • toilet paper roll(s)
  • tape (for incidentals)

First of all, you need to focus on your yarn.  Any yarn will work, and I mean ANY yarn.  So what is the difference between the $4.99 yarn and the $7.99 yarn?  There are many differences, but for these DIY pom pom gnomes, it is basically the thickness.  The thicker the yarn, the less it will take to create a full ball.

How to Make Yarn Pom Poms ~

My favorite method for making pom poms is with a large serving fork.  The fork I use is about 1 1/4″ wide.  Some other methods are using a credit card or cutting a piece of cardboard to the exact size you want.  There are truly so many items you can use for this project, this has just been the method I have found I really like.

  • Cut one piece of yarn about 6-7 inches.  Place the yarn as shown in the picture above.
  • Wrap your desired color of yarn around the fork until you get the desired size and thickness.  While you are wrapping, you will leave the one piece of yarn hanging down for later use.

  • I have included a picture to give you an idea of how the pom poms will turn out according to the number of times you wrap.  The smaller ball was wrapped around the serving fork 100 times and the bigger ball was wrapped around the serving fork 200 times.

  • Once you have finished wrapping, bring the loose piece of yarn up and over the top and tie loosely.  (The reason I say loosely is to make pulling it off the fork easier when it is time!)  Hold the tied yarn piece and begin pulling the wrapped yarn off of the fork.

  • When you have pulled it completely off of the fork, tie the yarn on top tightly, double knotting it.

  • Cut through all of the loops, being careful not to cut into center where the tied piece of yarn is tied off.  It is important to have sharp scissors with a pointy tip.

  • Lightly fluff your pom pom with your hand and then trim the edges until you have desired the size you want.

Whoo hoo…you have officially made a yarn pom pom!  Great job!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  The blue pom poms I made above were not for making gnomes.  Remember, I told you there are so many fun things you can do with these?  Well, these particular pom poms became “snowflakes” in my Gizmo Snail Mail project I wrote about at the beginning of this month?  Do you remember that post?  Check out this fun post on Gizmo Advent Snail Mail ….right here!

I hid a Christmas book in the bottom of a box, added a spring mechanism on that, placed a piece of cardboard on that and then filled the box to the top with the “snowflakes.”  When the kids opened their countdown box, voila, it was an instant snow storm, compliments of Gizmo!

Back to DIY Yarn Pom Pom Gnomes & More ~

Now it is time to make those cute little hats!  You will need a small book or credit card that measures about 3″.  I use a small leather book that is 3 1/2″ X 5 1/2″.   It is a fun idea to get a little crazy with your yarn selection for the hats.  Decide if you will use a solid color, a mixed yarn or use 2 or 3 different colored yarns.

My daughter, Karleigh, created some pom pom gnomes over the weekend.  Notice she has some solid colors, some yarns that are a mixed coloring and then created her own color striped hats by using 2 different color yarns.  Notice that cute little Purdue one!  Such a cute idea to pair up with some holiday candy or a bottle of wine and gift to friends and family!  (She found it to be very theraputic to make these…bonus!)

Gnome Hat Instructions ~

  • Cut toilet paper roll into 1/2″ rings.  This will make the band of the hat.  Once you get familiar with the process, you can play around with the sizing of the hat and cut them to the dimensions you prefer.

  • Wrap the yarn about 30 times around the small book or credit card.  Snip the end.  Cut the yarn across the binding of the book.  Once you have cut through all of the yarn strands, you will have 30 strands that are about 7″ long.  Depending upon the bulk of your yarn, you may choose to cut more if needed.
  • Place one strand at a time through the toilet paper ring, forming a loop.

  • Bring the two loose ends up and through the loop.

  • Pull to tighten, being careful not to pull so tight that you tear the toilet paper roll.  *The toilet paper roll is somewhat flimsy.  If you happen to tear it while working, just wrap a piece of tape around the cut to mend.

  • Continue this until you have completely covered the toilet paper ring.
  • Tie one long piece of yarn around the top, leaving some loose at the top for the fluffy top of the hat.
  • Trim the top of hat to desired length.

  • Insert one to two cotton balls in hat to keep form.

  • Hot glue inside of hat and place on pom pom you made earlier.  Adorn with a nose of your choice.

These yarn pom pom gnomes are seriously as much fun to make as they are to gift and/or receive.  They are perfect additions to gifts for friends, teachers, co-workers, and family members.  They would also make a perfect gift topper!

Enjoy your crafting ~

Mimi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo ❄

Ahhh…December!  The days are filled with kids anxiously counting down every…single…day until Christmas Eve.  Many families make the countdown fun with various advent calendars filled with candies and trinkets.  My kids loved these…as do my grandchildren!!!  Now that I am a Mimi (grandma), I have decided to create my own type of December fun while not interfering with my daughter’s advent calendar that she does with her children.  This is how advent snail mail with Gizmo came to life!

Meet Gizmo~

This fun little guy is Gizmo the fuzzy snowflake.  He will show up in the kids’ mailbox throughout the month of December spreading Christmas cheer.  This little guy will be a bit different as he will not show up daily.  The kids will never know which days he will appear, which will add a bit of suspenseful fun!

Gizmo’s Festive Responsibilities ~

The advent snail mail with Gizmo will begin on December 1 of each year.  Gizmo will introduce himself to the kids with a letter and a gift.

Use this free link to print out as many copies as needed:  Christmas Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo

Fun Gift/Craft Ideas to Include In Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo ~

This being the inaugural year with Gizmo, I have decided to focus mostly on books.  There will be other small items at different times, but this is a great time to carve out some quality time reading to the kids.  Also, books are the gifts that keep on giving!  Of course, my first thought was Christmas books, which I will indeed include on some days.  However, I read a fun article about picture books adapted from famous movies and tv shows…how fun!!!  Justine, from Life In Stepping Stones, includes some great book ideas here…check them out with this link!

Books Adapted from Movies & Shows – (some with Christmas theme and some that are not) ~

These are the books that I decided to start with:

Home Alone

Elf

Back to the Future

Life Is Better With Friends

E.T. The Extraterrestrial

Coloring Activities ~

DIY Bookmarks to Color

Disney Christmas Coloring Book

 

Other Fun Ideas ~

Family Christmas Puzzle – With 3 Different Size Pieces for All Ages to Enjoy

Talking Elf Plush

Christmas Bingo

 

Christmas Tree Craft Kit

How this Works ~

After sending the initial letter to the children, you will randomly send small items of your choosing and add the 2nd Gizmo mail printout (link below)  with each succedding mailing.  I actually hand deliver the items to my grandchildren as they live close enough to me.  However, I always leave them in the mailbox for them to find when they get home from their school or other activity.  (you may be asking, I thought you said this was the inagural Gizmo…it is!  I have adapted this from my earlier post, Flat Skelly Skeleton – Halloween Snail Mail Fun.)  They have so much fun checking the mailbox each day!

Gizmo Mail Printout To Be Included With Each Gift

You decide how often you want Gizmo to visit.  It can be once a week, every other day, or any number of random days you would like to make deliveries.  Print out the above link for each time you make a delivery…and be sure to write in the number of days left until Christmas.

The thought process on the gifts that I am choosing is togetherness!  I am choosing to not include individual candies/gifts/activities for each individual child, but instead sending items for them to do together.  Christmas creates a lot of anxiety in children and I believe trying to do fun things as a group helps promote getting along!  (Does this alway work?  Of course not, but we have to keep trying, right?)

Gizmo Snail Mail Recap ~

Since this is a new type of festive fun to have with kids, I am ending this post with a recap of just the essentials.

    1. Print out one copy of the Introduction from Gizmo Deliver this printout along with your first gift on December 1
    2. Choose how often you want to make Gizmo deliveries throught the month of December
    3. Print out as many of the Gizmo Countdown pages as you choose to make deliveries!  You can print these all at once or come back to this handy link each time you are preparing to make an Advent Snail Mail With Gizmo delivery!
    4. Be sure to write in the number of days left until Christmas on each Gizmo Countdown page.
    5. Mail or hand deliver your festive gifts!
    6. Ask the family members to send you pictures of the kids enjoying their advent gifts so you can be a part of the fun!

Now…get out there and enjoy the holidays!

Much love~

Mimi (& Gizmo)

Christmas Lights and Cocoa

The traditions continue as we enjoyed our annual night of viewing Christmas lights while sipping on hot cocoa and munching popcorn. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to watch our children carry on our family traditions with their loved ones.  Of course, that is what traditions are, right?

A few changes were made to this year’s Christmas light adventure. Normally the kids would grumble about any changes made to our family traditions. However, we all enjoyed these fun additions, so we didn’t hear those usual complaints. It all began with a hot cocoa snack board. We have always enjoyed cocoa while driving around looking at the festive lights, but this year, everyone got to create their own cocoa masterpiece.

This is so much fun to create and, of course, there are no rules!  When assembling your snack board, keep in mind that some goodies will be for the hot cocoa and some will just be for snacking.   This being the first year, I had a lot of fun assembling the goodies, but my mind is already swirling with different ideas for the next occasion.

Ideas for Creating Cocoa Snack Board ~

The other good thing to remember is that this just doesn’t have to be a Christmas thing!  We drink cocoa as many times as we can throughout the winter months.  This leaves more opportunities to have fun with this chocolate-filled idea!  As mentioned earlier, the goodies are endless that can be included in your setup.  Here are some fun ideas:

  1. Candy canes or peppermint sticks
  2. Crushed peppermint candies
  3. Marshmallows – plain, flavored or festive shaped
  4. M & Ms
  5. Malt Balls
  6. White mini Kit Kats
  7. Chocolate nonpareils
  8. Gingerbread cookies
  9. Graham Crackers
  10. Caramel candies
  11. White chocolate pretzel rods
  12. White chocolate chips
  13. Various candy Kisses
  14. Biscotti
  15. White chocolate covered Oreos

It was so much fun watching the kids create their specialty cocoas.  Addi even discovered a new favorite…she couldn’t get enough of the chocolate nonpareils (also known as sno-caps).   We used the disposable soup bowls for each person to create their own snack mix.   Each bowl started with a little popcorn and then they filled them to their heart’s content.

Hot Chocolate Bombs ~

Have you seen this new and totally fun idea for hot cocoa???  This is definitely something I will add to the snack board for next year.  But why wait????  You can make these all winter long!  They have gone viral on Tik-Tok and everyone is raving about them.  They are available in stores to buy or you can make your own.  I have saved several posts for reference, but I especially like the post by Gluesticksblog.com.  She gives great ideas and tips and also references a video of them if you have not yet seen how they work.  How to Make Hot Chocolate Bombs by Gluesticksblog.com.

We will definitely be making our own soon and will share our results once we have done so.  However, I am starting preparations for them now and ordered the silicone chocolate mold so I am ready to go.    After reading many reviews and scouring for the best prices, these are the chocolate molds I ordered.  These are the chocolate molds I ordered for Hot Chocolate Bombs!  From my research, I have discovered you need to pay close attention to size.  I also saw where many of the chocolate mold companies weren’t so good on delivery!

Marshamallows are obviously an important ingredient as well.   The dehydrated marshmallows work best as they are small and easier to work with when making hot chocolate bombs.  If you do not plan ahead, these can be very hard to find in the stores *voice of experience here!!!  Here are some handy and fun links to help out with that…

Dehydrated Marshamallows in 1-Pound Sealable Bag

Mini Marshmallows With Snowflake Sprinkles & Chocolate Jimmies

Off To View the Lights ~

Everyone gathered their hot cocoa and snack bowl and loaded into the car for the next step.  Unfortunately, I believe this will be the last year that we will all be in the same vehicle.  Fortunately, that means our family is growing…❤!  Next year we will have to use 2 cars….but you can be sure that won’t stop this family tradition!  We drive through neighborhoods to enjoy the festive decorations.  To those people who decorate every year…thank you!  Some of the displays are the same as they were when our kids were youngsters.  How cool is that?

Carry Out and Puzzles ~

The final part of the evening is Chinese take-out at the end of our Christmas light viewing.  We call ahead and pick it up on our way back home.  Our little Addi already asks for this when we start choosing the date for this night.  Those traditions obviously make a difference even at a young age.  This just melts my heart!

The other new activity we added this year is doing a Christmas puzzle.  Not a large one, as we want to be able to finish it the same night.  My suggestion is to stick with 100 pieces or choose one that is a “family” style puzzle with three different sizes of pieces.  Have you seen these kind?  They are truly so much fun when you are puzzling with a variety of ages.

(Frosty the Snowman 100 piece puzzle)

Here are a couple options of the family time puzzles.  Our family has had one since the kids were young and we would do that same one every year.  Now there are even more options.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Family Time Puzzle  ~ The image Amazon includes here doesn’t show the different size pieces, but if you click on the link you will see that the Family Time puzzles have small, medium and large pieces for family puzzling.

Snoopy and Linus ice skating – Peanuts Family Time Puzzle ~ A super cute Family Time puzzle that also has small, medium and large pieces.

Christmas lights and cocoa has long been one of our kids’ favorite traditions of the many we try to do throughout the month of December.  I love watching our grown kids still juggle their schedules to make it all work.  Family time is oh so valuable and especially during this wonderful holiday of celebrating the birth of Christ!

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

 

 

Cooking Fun With Scooby

Encouraging kids to get involved in the kitchen is beneficial in SO many ways!   While it means extra patience and cleaning for parents, the numerous benefits are very worth it.  I happen to believe that the biggest perk is extra bonding time!  So, how do we go about encouraging the children to WANT to help us cook?  Well, it looks like we have another mystery on our hands…OR do we?   Finding really cool cookbooks should do the trick!  What kid wouldn’t enjoy cooking fun with Scooby?

Scooby Doo is one of those cartoon characters that transcends all ages.  Am I right?  I still enjoy sitting with the kids and watching Scooby and those meddling kids.  So what could be more fun than recreating some of those fun foods we see Scooby and the gang eat in the shows?  From Donut Demons to Shaggy & Scooby’s Jaw Stretcher Special, you are sure to satisfy even the most pickiest of eaters!

And it doesn’t stop at food items!  There are some fantastically fun drink ideas!  You may even be able to sneak a veggie in these blended delights without them even knowing.  If you dare, you can carry the mystery on by asking them to use their detective skills to figure out what the secret ingredient is!!!

Order your Scooby Doo cook book by Katrina Jorgensen here and get it in time for Christmas!

Jinkies, this may be the favorite gift of 2020.!!!

Taking Cooking Fun With Scooby a Step Further ~

This cookbook is truly awesome, but you can make it more “Scoob-ariffic!”   Why not create a gift basket of themed Cooking Fun with Scooby!  Here are some cooking gift ideas:

Other Scooby Doo Fun Recipes ~

Of course, there are tons of wonderful Scooby Doo recipes and fun ideas out there.  I have rounded up a few of them for you.  For example MyKidsTime.com has a super cute compilation of Scooby birthday party ideas.  You can use some of these for your basket gift as well.  They have a great recipe for dog-bone shaped cookies.  These would be fun to add in for Christmas cookie decorating too!  Scooby Doo free recipes and ideas from MyKidsTime.com

Betty Crocker shared some cooking fun with Scooby too.  Check out this fun recipe using candy and fruit snacks:   Scooby Doo Pops Recipe by Betty Crocker

Scooby-Doo Pops

Scooby Printables ~

Cooking in the kitchen may be all the excitement they can handle for one day.  However,  keep in mind that just because it wears us out does not mean it will wear them out!  If you happen to have one that runs like the energizer bunny, take some time to print out some fun games.  These will be sure to keep them busy while everyone is waiting to eat or to finish up the fun Scooby themed evening!

Print out this Scooby word search to use while waiting for the food to cook!

Print this fun Scooby coloring page by Michael’s Family

Find What’s Different in this fun Scooby printable by activities.websincloud.com

Scooby Doo 38

What’s next for Mystery Inc?  I don’t have an answer to that, but I am sure that whatever it is, the whole family will love it!  For now, put your oven mitts on and get started on your cooking fun with Scooby!

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!

 

 

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