Monday, December 7, 2015

Making Christmas Magical: 12 Days of Christmas activities for families

I am not one of those moms who usually goes "all out" on holidays. I have lots of good intentions, but very little follow through. But this year is going to be different! I wanted to find some activities that didn't require any specialty-store ingredients and required little prep time. Basically, I wanted something for my preschooler & first grader to do in the days leading up to Christmas--especially those days when there's no school!

I originally saw this idea HERE on, but I ended up coming up with some new days of my own and taking/deleting some activities the site suggested. I found a ton of ideas on pinterest (so if some of the crafts or activities don't immediately make sense, just type them in the search bar on pinterest) and I especially loved all the paper plate crafts I found on this site .

The ideas printed on each card are suggestions of things my kids and I can do, but I'm not expecting to get them all done. We'll just pick and choose what works best for us. Also, I hate the idea of constantly having to get online to look for recipes/craft ideas so I included pictures of the crafts and recipes right on the cards. And lastly, there's not right or wrong order for these 12 days! I might let my kids pick a card each day or I'll pick one that fits with whatever else we have that day.

Simple, fun ideas for everyday moms and kids.
This would even make a cute neighbor gift! 

These print on a regular sheet of printer paper or cardstock. Just cut down the middle after printing. Besides the cards, you'll need basic art supplies and a stack of cheap paper plates if you're doing the paper plate crafts. I also own most of the videos/books suggested but you should be able to find them at your local library and on netflix/amazon prime video.

Here are some of our activities for Mr. Grinch Day. We invited two neighbor friends to join us today. We started by reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Then, we made our a Grinch craft out of paper plates.
 Next, the kids helped me bake "grinch cookies" They each took turns putting the ingredients into the bowl. They especially loved seeing the dough turn green. For my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, go HERE
 While the cookies were baking I turned on the classic, cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. When the movie was over I called them over to the table for their snack. The picture of the cookies looks washed out, but trust me, with 10 drops of green food coloring, they were plenty green!

 For dinner that night I made "grinch rolls" However, dying the roll dough didn't make them green...more like a white and green marble...which the kids still thought was cool. Click HERE for my tried and true roll recipe.
 We also ate "Who Stew" aka Chili. I told my kids this is what the Who's from Whoville eat for dinner rather than saying the stew was made out of Who's (yuck!) And click HERE for our all time favorite chili recipe.

 This was a easy, fun day and my kids can't wait for us to do another activity day soon!
And that's the beauty of these "days" If you get overwhelmed easily, like I do, spread the days out so you're not necessarily doing one every day for 12 straight days. Choose what works best for your family.
 To download the GRINCH & NATIVITY DAY, click HERE
To download the AROUND THE WORLD and REINDEER DAY, click HERE
Just a side note on this day: you might be wondering why the heck my kids will learn how to say merry Christmas in Indonesian. My in-laws served a mission there for our church so Indonesia is regularly talked about at our house.
To download the St.NICHOLAS DAY and CHRISTMAS TREE DAY, click HERE
To download CANDY CANE DAY and ELF DAY, click HERE
To download the FROSTY DAY and GINGERBREAD DAY, click HERE

These printables are for personal use only. Please don't use them commercially in any form.

Don't forget to check out my ETSY SHOP to see if there's anything that will make your holiday bright! And please feel free to like, share, and pin this post! Word of mouth really helps my small business out. I also do custom orders, email or send me a convo on etsy to get started! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Confessions of a Wannbe Seamstress: Lined Flannel PJ Tutorial

 It's been a long standing tradition in my family to get pajamas on Christmas Eve. Growing up in a family of five children, this often meant our pajamas were made by my mother. One year we we even got lap quilts (or TV watching quilts) to go with our PJs. As I've begun my own sewing journey I realize now just what a labor of love it was for my mother to sew five pairs of pajamas in different sizes and patterns.

Now that I've started my own family I've incorporated this same tradition with my children. In fact, pajamas on Christmas Eve was a tradition in my husband's family too! In years past, we've bought our kids PJs, but this year I decided to make them. And let me tell you, it was so simple! Depending on the size of the PJs I could get 1-2 pairs done in an afternoon while my son took his nap and my older two were at school. I loved doing this so much, I even made a fourth pair for my nephew.
Let's get started! Around Thanksgiving, JoAnne Fabrics has seriously crazy sales on their flannel. I got flannel for 75 % off! That was only a little over a $1 per yard. I bought a yard of fabric for each pair of PJs I made. Also, these are lined with flannel too to make them extra warm and cozy. So I bought a yard of white flannel for each pair too.You'll also need elastic for the waist.

For the basic pattern I used this pattern and tutorial from I printed the pattern out (it's sized for a 3 year old) so for the other sizes, I used an existing pair of pajama pants to make the pattern longer/shorter. I found the waist size and the leg width to be good for the sizes I made: a child's 6x, 4T, 24 months, and 12 months. The waist size was good because once you add the elastic for that specific size, it will cinch up to the right size.

First, print and cut out the pattern and tape it together. If you're making a size bigger/smaller then have a pair of pants on hand to see how much bigger/smaller you need to cut the length. TIP: leave PLENTY of extra length for folding the waist over and hemming the bottoms. You can always cut off excess later. If you're making a pair for a larger child that needs extra width on the pattern, just use your existing pair of PJs as a guide and trace around it. Just be sure to give yourself extra room for sewing your seams. In my case, I always give myself LOTS of extra room... I tend to sew pretty wide seams.

Since these are lined, you'll need to cut out a set of front and back pieces on white flannel and a set of front and back pieces on your patterned flannel--so you'll have a total of 8 pieces cut out (or 4 sets). Again, if you're making you're own pattern look how the original pattern has a slight angle on the waist of the front pieces. This gives the pants a better fit.
After your pieces are cut out, you'll need to turn them so right sides are together and sew along the curved part from the waist to that little point in the bum. TIP: after I've sewed this part, I lay the pieces flat on my machine and do a zig-zag stitch right through the seam I just sewed. I figure these PJs are for kids and this area is the bum/crotch area and is going to see lots of running, jumping, climbing, and crawling around on the floor. I like to reinforce them so they'll be as sturdy as possible.
 8 pieces become 4 So now you'll have your 4 main pieces to work with.
 Find your front and back pieces (the front pieces will have a slightly dipped waist) in the white and pattern and match them up. You'll pin them wrong sides together (right sides facing out)
 The easiest way to pin is to start with the crotch. Line the crotch of each piece up, pin it, then pin the inner legs. Then I pin the corners up by the waist and then down the outer legs.
 Start sewing the inner leg first in one continuous line. Then sew along the waist. Finally, sew each side of the outer leg. I don't sew the very bottoms of the legs because that's the part I'll cut off to adjust for length. I do another zig-zag stitch from crotch to waist to help reinforce the two layers of flannel. Now your 4 pieces just became 2.
 2 pieces become 1: Now you'll pin your two pieces wrong sides together. again, line up the crotch and pin there. then the inner leg. then the two points on the sides of the waist and finally the outer legs.
 Sew starting with the inner leg so it's one continuous line. Then sew up the outer legs. DON'T SEW from the crotch up to the waist in this step or around the waist or you'll sew your PJs together!!! I do sew a zig-zag stitch along the leg seams to help reinforce and this also keeps the edges from fraying. Once everything is sewed, turn them right side out and give it a good iron. They're starting to look like PJs already and don't they feel so soft and cozy? The two layers of flannel really make a difference.
 Now for the waist. I do this by making a casing. You can see a tutorial here. After the elastic is in, I sewed around the unfinished edges of the casing with guessed it...zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying.
 Finally, hem your pants. This is where you can cut off any excess length (remember, leave it slightly long so you can still hem them. I also a little bit extra length beyond that so the kids can wear them longer and to foresee any shrinking from washing. Pin your hem to the length you want. Then I iron my crease before I sew. After, I did another zig-zag stick around the hem to prevent fraying.
And Ta-Da your're done! Sadly I don't have any pictures of little ones modeling them because these are for Christmas. But they all turned out so cute and I can't wait to give these to them on Christmas Eve! I'll probably find some inexpensive thermal jammie-type shirts at Wal-Mart or KMart to finish the set.
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