Hand & Foot Print Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

What you will need:

 

Pressed leaves
Pressed leaves

To press leaves:

I placed the leaves in between pages of a drawing pad (any heavy book will do) and placed a weight on top. Let sit for a day or two and they will dry flat and be ready to use.

TIP: You could use a piece of felt instead of a leaf

Painting the bottom of the foot
Painting the bottom of the foot

To make the Rudolph’s head. Paint the bottom of you little ones foot and press carefully on to the white card stock paper.

TIP: Use wet wipes to clean the paint off the bottom of foot and hand.

Pressing foot carefully to card stock
Pressing foot carefully to card stock

Tip: If you do it in the bath tub the cleanup is so much easier.

Painting hand
Painting hand

Paint the hand and press carefully on to the white card stock paper slightly over lapping the foot print.

Placing the the handprint antler on the top of the head
Placing the the handprint antler on the top of the “head”

Allow the paint to dry.

Start with gluing  the button nose
Start with gluing the button nose

Start with the gorilla glue and add it generously to where the button nose will go and put the button in place.

Next glue the googlie eye
Next glue the googlie eye

Next put gorilla glue to where you want the googlie eye to go and place the eye

Lastly glue the ear on
Lastly glue the ear on

Place a generous amount of Elmers glue to where you want the leaf (ear) to go, and place the leaf.

Allow the glue to dry before hanging up on the fridge πŸ™‚

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Pine Cone Santa!

Pine Cone Santa
Pine Cone Santa

I was planning on making a Santa hat out of felt for our pine cone Santa, until I found these cute Santa hats on sale at Hobby Lobby for 50% off.

Santa Hats
Santa Hats

What you will need:

  • A Pine Cone
  • Red Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Gorilla Glue (you could use a hot glue gun instead)
  • Felt for making a hat or buy a hat pre-made
  • Googlie eyes
  • Cotton balls
  • Dowel Cap (for head)
  • Wet wipes (for cleaning)

 

Ready to paint
Ready to paint

Paint the pine cone.

Painting the pine cone
Painting the pine cone

It doesn’t have to be completely covered in paint, the imperfections will add character πŸ™‚

TIP: Have wet wipes handy to wipe off paint from hands

Painted pine cone
Painted pine cone

Allow the paint to dry.

TIP: You could add glitter if you wanted to by sprinkling some into the wet paint.

Ready to glue together the Santa
Ready to glue together the Santa

Test out how you want the head (dowel) to sit before adding the glue.

Put glue in the bottom and sides of the hole in the dowel and then fit it over the pine cone top pieces (the spot you want the head to sit).

Attaching the beard
Attaching the beard

Stretch out and shape a cotton ball into a beard of your liking. Then place glue on the parts of the pine cone that it will touch and set it in place.

TIP: You will want to glue the top of the beard on to the head, so add a dab of glue there.

Attaching the googlie eyes
Attaching the googlie eyes

Put a dab of glue to where you want the eyes to go and put the googlie eyes in place.

Attaching the googlie eyes
Attaching the googlie eyes

Put a small cotton ball inside the hat (to help keep it’s form). Put glue on the edges of the hat and cotton ball where they touch theΒ  dowel (head). Allow all the glue to dry.

TIP: This is where I wished I had faster drying glue option (like hot glue or maybe super glue) since the hat didn’t want to stay exactly where I wanted it to at first.

Finished Pine Cone Santa!
Finished Pine Cone Santa!

Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Decorated Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Decorated Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

This is for different ideas for decorating your ornaments. For directions on how to make salt dough cookie cutter ornaments click here.

Ready to Paint Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Ready to Paint Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

What you will need:

  • Salt Dough Ornaments
  • Acrylic paint
  • Mod podge glossy finish
  • Ribbon/ string
  • Paint brushes
  • Toothpick
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Beads
  • Felt
  • Glitter
  • Pony beads
  • Different sized gold beads
  • Googlie eyes
  • Buttons, cotton balls, pom poms or anything else you find laying around
Painting Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Painting Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Paint the ornaments as desired and allow the paint to dry.

Painted Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Painted Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

TIP: Make sure you don’t fill the ribbon hole with paint or the ribbon won’t fit through. If you get paint in it just use a toothpick to remove the excess paint.

Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

We added glitter to the white parts of our candy canes. Lightly brush a thin layer of mod podge on and sprinkle glitter over the wet mod podge. Allow to dry.

Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Using gorilla glue we glued on googlie eyes and pony beads for the “gum drop” buttons πŸ™‚ I tried out buttons I had first but we liked the pony beads better.

Gingerbread Men Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Gingerbread Men Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

We cut little felt mouths for the gingerbread men, which we gorilla glued on.

Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

We gorilla glued on two different size gold beads on the Christmas trees.

Christmas Tree Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Christmas Tree Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

I gorilla glued on pieces of gold string as “tinsel garland” on the trees.

Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Decorating Salt Dough Cookie Cutter Ornaments

We gorilla glued on gold string as halos for the angels.

Once you have all your ornaments decorated as desired allow the glue to completely dry. Once it has dried paint a thin layer of mod podge over the ornaments to help preserve them and it will give them a nice glossy finish. The mod podge dries clear so don’t worry about it looking cloudy when you put it on.

Displaying our finished ornaments on our painted branch tree since we don't have our Christmas tree up yet :)
Displaying our finished ornaments on our painted branch tree since we don’t have our Christmas tree up yet πŸ™‚

Once the mod podge has dried string your ornaments and they are ready to be hung on a tree.

Cookie Cutter Salt Dough Ornaments

Having a play date and looking for a easy fun craft activity for the little’s to do for cheap? Want to make ornaments for your own tree or maybe some presents for family members? These are a great choice for all of them!

Cookie Cutter Salt Dough Ornaments
Cookie Cutter Salt Dough Ornaments (and a handprint)

What you will need:

  • 1 cup Salt
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup of Water
  • Measuring cups
  • Rolling pin
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Cookie cutters
  • Skewer (or something else to make holes for the ribbon)
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Ribbon or string
What you need to make Cookie Cutter Salt Dough Ornaments
What you need to make Cookie Cutter Salt Dough Ornaments

Mix together the salt and flour.

Tasting the flour
Tasting the flour
Pouring the flour in the bowl
Pouring the flour in the bowl

Add the water in smaller increments while mixing with the spatula.

Adding water a little bit at a time
Adding water a little bit at a time
Mixing it up slowly
Mixing it up slowly

TIP: You may not need to add the whole 1/2 cup of water. If dough gets sticky and a little bit more flour.

We actually needed a few extra table spoons of water to pull the dough together. The dough is perfect when it holds form. See below.

At this point it will be easier to use your hands. Press the dough together to form a ball.

All done and ready to go
All done and ready to go

Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and flatten it out with the rolling pin to a desired thickness. We did ours at about 1/4″ thick. The thicker the dough is, the longer it will take to dry and the heavier the ornaments will be (heavy is generally not good for Christmas trees).

Dough rolled out and ready for the cookie cutters
Dough rolled out and ready for the cookie cutters

Cut out the ornaments and set aside.

Cutting out ornaments
Cutting out ornaments

After the first set was cut out, we balled the scraps and re-rolled them flat again.

Cutting out ornaments
Cutting out ornaments

After the second set of ornaments were cut out, we decided to make a hand print ornament with the rest of the scrap dough.

DON’T Forget to poke holes in your ornaments before baking. I used the skewer to make the holes.

From the leftover scraps we decided to make one handprint ornament
From the leftover scraps we decided to make one handprint ornament

TIP: If you want to smooth down cracks and rough edges, you can do so by dipping your finger in water and smoothing them out, adding water as needed.

After 2 hours in the oven at 200 F
After 2 hours in the oven at 200 F

Put the ornaments on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Put in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two hours. After 2 hours in the oven at 200 F the ornaments still had wet spots (when you squeeze they are soft and give to pressure). So I flipped them over and increased the oven temperature to 225F and baked them for 2 more hours.

After 2 hours in the oven at 200 F, still wet in spots. Flipped over and increased temp to 225 for 2 more hours.
After 2 hours in the oven at 200 F, still wet in spots. Flipped over and increased temp to 225 for 2 more hours.

Once the ornaments are fully dried out allow them to cool down before continuing to the next step.

The ornaments can be used as is, just add the strings, or you can further decorate as desired.

This is for different ideas for decorating your ornaments. For ideas on how to make decorate your salt dough cookie cutter ornaments click here.

Product Review: Leapfrog LeapReader for a toddler?

I get asked about the Leapreader a lot by parents of toddlers. I do want to make it clear that I don’t get any kind of endorsement from Leapfrog.
1.5 Year old playing with the LeapReader
1.5 Year old playing with the LeapReader

Sophia has the Leapreader. She received it for Christmas last year when she was 1.5 years old. It was from her grandparents so I knew nothing about it when she got it. The package said 4-8 years and I was a bit nervous that Sophia would break it. It came with a demo book and the pen and Sophia was having a blast with it right away, everything she poked at said something or played a short tune.

Trying out headphones with it for our up coming  plane ride
Trying out headphones with it for our up coming plane ride
I went to buy a few books for it and found I had a lot to learn. I was all excited when I found Minnie Mouse and Jake and the Neverland Pirates books until I realized they were for the Leapreader Jr and wouldn’t work. I considered purchasing the Jr but decided that Sophia would out grow it soon and got some Disney Princess books instead. I would still make the same decision a year later.
Princess Rapunzel doing a bit of Leap Reading :)
Princess Rapunzel doing a bit of Leap Reading πŸ™‚
How it works:
You will need to download and set up Leapfrog Connect to your computer. When you get a new book you will need to plug the Reader into your computer and download the audio file for that book. The downloads take maybe 30 seconds per book, depending on your internet speed of course. Unplug and it’s ready to go, pretty simple if you follow the instructions it comes with.
LeapReading first thing in the morning
LeapReading first thing in the morning
LeapReader VS LeapReader JR
  • LeapReader and Leapreader Jr books are not interchangeable.
  • The LeapReader holds a ton of books, music, and trivia. I’m told that the Leapreader JR only holds the audio for up to 4 books at a time.Β 
  • The JR reader pen is shaped like a puppy
United States Interactive map
United States Interactive map
LeapReader VS Tag
  • Tag and LeapReader are not the same thing.
  • Some of the Tag books will work with the LeapReader. If you see the audio file for it in the Leapfrog Connect then the Tag book will work with the LeapReader for that book.
Tag and Tag Jr are the older outdated versions. All the LeapReader books I’ve seen being sold say “works with Tag” and I’m not sure when they plan on not adding the audio of the new books to the older version. I’ve considered getting a Tag reader when it’s been bundled with other books I’ve been looking at getting on ebay or craigslist but so far I haven’t done so. Most books I’ve wanted to get for Sophia are available for the LeapReader.
Monster math
Monster math
LeapReader for a toddler?
It depends on the toddler since it is for older kids it’s more delicate and definitely needs supervision a lot in the beginning.
If your child is good at handling paper pages with out ripping them then I would say they are a good candidate for the regular LeapReader.
Most toddlers won’t be doing the games and understanding all the concepts in the books. Sophia loves them for the stories and the character interactions. We do have the Get Ready for Kindergarten book and she does like playing with the alphabet and counting things. Other than new vocabulary I feel that she hasn’t specifically learned anything from them so far. Mostly they just help reinforce previously learned things, like the alphabet and letter sounds. She really mostly uses it for entertainment.
If you want something that they can do by themselves with out supervision then the Leapreader JR would be the better choice.
Learning the letter sounds
Learning the letter sounds
We have not tested out any of the writing books (you use the pen on special tracing paper). I don’t think Sophia is ready for those yet.
TIP: ToysRUs has Black Friday 2014 sale for the regular LeapReader. They have the reading system with the pen for $29.99 and $7.49 for all the books.

UPDATE:
Incase anyone is looking Walmart has the LeapReader on their pre-black-friday sale for $29.00 now through next Thursday. Get the sales prices with out the crowds of Black Friday!

Sun Catchers

Painted Sun Catchers
Painted Sun Catchers

Painting sun catchers is a lot of fun. It is quick, easy, cheap, and a great rainy day activity. What better to do on a gloomy rainy day than dream of the sun πŸ™‚

Sun catchers can be bought in kits or separately. I bought mine separate and found the paint sold alone at Hobby Lobby. If you are buying separate make sure the paint is for sun catchers specifically. The different shapes you can get at Walmart or Hobby Lobby or other craft store generally they are $0.50 a piece.

These will make a great gifts for family members. The shapes do come in holiday themes as well.

What you will need:

Sun catcher shapes

Sun catcher paint

Paint brushes

String to hang the finished project

set up to paint sun catchers
set up to paint sun catchers

TIP: The sun catcher paint will stain your skin if not wiped off right away.

TIP: Use a different brush for each color to help minimize colors mixing in the container

Painting Sun Catcher Cupcake
Painting Sun Catcher Cupcake

TIP: Open only one color at a time to help minimize mess, mixing of colors, and spills.

Painting Sun Catcher Elephant
Painting Sun Catcher Elephant

TIP: You may want to limit the amount of colors used per sun catcher. A bunch of colors mixed together will end in a brownish result in the end. The cupcake I allowed her to use 6 colors and the elephant I limited it to only 4.

Allow to air dry before putting the string on and hanging them up.

Painted Sun Catchers
Painted Sun Catchers

Resin Ornament Painting

Painted Resin Ornament
Painted Resin Ornament

I found this resin deer ornament at Michaels craft store. I wasn’t sure how the paint would stick to it since it’s a pretty smooth finish on it but decided that for a $1.00 we’d give it a try.

What you will need:

Resin Ornament

Acrylic paint

Mod podge

Ribbon

Paint brushes

Resin Ornament Painting Set Up
Resin Ornament Painting Set Up

I set up Sophia to paint it. TIP: Remove the string from the ornament before painting.

Resin Ornament Painting
Resin Ornament Painting

After the first stroke of paint I realized that it works great. The resin ornament wasn’t repelling the paint.

Resin Ornament Painting
Resin Ornament Painting

Sophia thoroughly enjoyed painting the deer. Allow to dry after painting is done. I placed it standing up on a paper plate out of reach, since Sophia wanted to go play with it πŸ™‚

After the paint has dried paint a thin layer of mod podge on it. This will help preserve it longer. The mod podge dries clear so don’t worry about it looking cloudy when you put it on.

Put ribbon back on after it has dried.

TIP: the resin ornaments are more on the fragile side (I’m basing off the fact the of the 3 deer at the store this was the only one with both antlers intact) So handle with care.

Painted Resin Ornament
Painted Resin Ornament

 

Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments

 

salt dough and handprint ornaments and a free style salt dough ornament
salt dough and handprint ornaments and a free salt style dough ornament

I’ve done salt dough handprint ornaments the last two years (Sophia was 6 months and 1.5 years old). There is a good recipe and instructions for the salt dough handprints here on The Imagination Tree. I did a few things a bit differently like adding water a little at a time so it doesn’t get sticky plus they dry faster the less water there is.

The first year I made these I didn’t trim off the excess dough. I found that those were really heavy. So this time I trimmed the dough around the edges with a kitchen knife. Below are a few more helpful tips.

What you will need:

Salt

Flour

Water

Parchment paper

Acrylic paint

Mod podge

Ribbon

Paint brushes

I set Sophia up to work on top of the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. This keeps the dough from sticking to the pan when cooked and you wont have to worry about moving their finished master piece.

exploring salt dough
exploring salt dough

TIP: If you want to smooth down cracks and rough edges, you can do so by dipping your finger in water and smoothing them out, adding water as needed.

exploring salt dough
exploring salt dough

TIP: If you are making the dough by yourself, as I did, have it all set up before inviting your toddler to join you. This is very helpful since little ones have short attention spans so it’s best to use it doing the project instead of them watching you set up for it.

making salt dough ornament
making salt dough ornament

TIP: Also we did the handprints first as quickly as I could crank them out, maybe took 4-5 minutes. After which I allowed Sophia to explore the dough with different tools as she wanted.

DON’T: Forget to poke holes in the ornaments (for the ribbon to go through when done) before baking

baked salt dough handprint ornaments
baked salt dough handprint ornaments

After the salt dough ornaments had cooled off and I was certain they had fully dried off (the next day) I set Sophia up for painting them. I had originally thought about painting them my self and making these cute Santa’s out of them. But then figured that family getting the ornaments would like them better if Sophia had her own hand in painting them.

TIP: You can do this in one day if you make the ornaments first thing in the morning and get them baking. If you make them really thick they take a lot longer than the 2 hours recommended bake time.

painting salt dough handprint ornament
painting salt dough handprint ornament

Look of hard concentration πŸ™‚

painting salt dough handprint ornament
painting salt dough handprint ornament

Paint a layer of mod podge on them after the paint has dried. This will help preserve them longer. The mod podge dries clear so don’t worry about it looking cloudy when you put it on.

On the red “sun” ornament we sprinkled red glitter on top of the wet paint.

The instructions for the handprint bauble ornament pictured below will be posted soon. Check back soon πŸ™‚

salt dough and handprint ornaments and a free style salt dough ornament
salt dough and handprint ornaments and a free style salt dough ornament

 

 

Glitter Painted Pine Cone Ornaments

Glitter painted pine cone ornaments
Glitter painted pine cone ornaments

Only 48 days until Christmas! It’s the perfect time of year to start making ornaments. (Sophia was 1.5 years old, since this is from last year.)

Setting up for projects properly is the most important part when working with a toddler. You want to have everything you may need at arms reach. Tip: Tin foil is super easy for cleaning up afterwards, so I use it a lot.

Chris helped me with this project and it helps immensely to have an extra pair of hands and eyes. This year I would tackle this with just Sophia and I, since she follows instructions (most of the time).

What you will need:

-pine cones (you can buy them if you aren’t able to find any)

-white, glitter red, and glitter green acrylic paints

-paint brushes

-eyelet screws

-string

mod podge

Set up is half the battle
Set up is half the battle

I found really nice pine cones on one of our walks in our neighborhood and picked them up. I cleaned them off, screwed in the eyelet screws, put strings on and painted them white. I hung them up to dry (put something underneath to catch the paint drips).

Once they were dry I set it all up for Sophia to paint. Since this was her first time painting, we didn’t know what to expect, so we prepared for the worst. We took off her shirt, had a packet of wet wipes, paper towel roll, towels… well you get the idea.

Really all it took was to be in control the paint and give her more when she wanted it but keeping it out of reach other wise.

Painting on pine cone- red glitter paint
Painting on pine cone- red glitter paint
Painting on pine cone- red glitter paint
Painting on pine cone- red glitter paint
Painting on pine cone- green glitter paint
Painting on pine cone- green glitter paint

Once the glitter paint was all dry I painted a thin layer of mod podge over the pine cones to help preserve them longer. Ps it dries clear so don’t worry about it looking cloudy when you put it on.

Sophia really enjoyed the experience and they made super cute presents for family πŸ™‚

Glitter painted pine cones
Glitter painted pine cones