An Elf Alternative

I have noticed that Elf lovers and Elf haters BOTH have something in common… they are happy with their own way of doing things.
Casey has great Elf ideas (that even incorporate Bible verses), and Krista is an example of someone who all of you Elf-Haters could relate to.  I am not Pro Elf or Anti Elf.

I think I might even fit into a whole new category.

I’m just kind of an observer of all things elf.  So, when I saw these elves, I bought them but I didn’t have any intention of doing the Elf on the Shelf thing.


Stuffed Elves


I actually had a few different ideas in mind:

1) To give them as gifts this year to friends, each holding Personalized Chocolate Bar with caricatures of our family dressed as elves.  (I was really proud when I came up with this gift idea!)


Elf Gift


2) To tell our kids that Santa sent us elf toys to take with us each time we go to do something special for Christmas (like picking out a Christmas tree, caroling, taking pictures with Santa, or going to parties).  If I forget to take them, we will just tell our elves all about them when we get home.  Each child gets their own elf and it is simply a plush toy – no magic involved.


photo 3


3) To decorate with the little cuties.


Decorating with Elves


4) To make boring spots of our house fun and festive…. like the microwave.  I love that their hands velcro together.


plush elves


There isn’t going to be much more to it than that for me, but this was exactly the elf I had been looking for if I was ever going to consider including Elves in our holiday traditions or household.

But maybe you do want this to be your Elf on the Shelf and in that case, CLICK HERE and go buy them. 🙂

 

Presents The Kids Are Still Playing With After Christmas

You gotta love when you – I mean, when Santa spends all that time and energy on the “right” presents (and not to mention the expenses) so your kids can play with the boxes they are packaged in, or the pillows on your freshly-made beds.

Santa is starting to think he should have given the kids a nook or an iPad as opposed to the extra plastic and clutter lying around the house, but their wish-list tricked him.

Still, many of our presents are still providing lots of entertainment.  To name a few…

My sister bought this science kit for Sean Patrick:

Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set

And we love it.  It comes with cards to tell you how to do science experiments that are kid-friendly.  When my toddler goes down for a nap, Sean Patrick can’t wait to do his experiment.


How to make pennies shiny


Learning how to make pennies shiny!


Cleaning our science tools


Cleaning our science tools.

 

He even likes to clean the tools.   How could I not be excited about that?

My mother-in-law got us the learning tower that he stands on to do the experiments and the dish-washing.  I used to think only hippie-parents would want this and that I would never want it because it takes up space, but y’all…. I am in love, and I was wrong.  Or maybe I am a hippie?

Guidecraft All Grown Up Kitchen Helper Step Stool

Anyway, my kids stood on it for a half hour after we took it out of the box saying “This is awesome! This is AWEsome!  This is aweSOME!”  repeatedly.

And I love that they no longer try to climb onto the counter tops or pull chairs to the counters.

Sean Patrick is also loving his Jake and the Neverland Pirate Ship.  It’s been fun hearing him attempt to talk like a pirate “Ahoy matey” is stinking adorable.  AHH, I have to drop stinking from my vocabulary… help!  Sean Patrick calls me out on using a potty word when I’m not in the bathroom and it is humbling haha.

Fisher-Price Disney's Jake and The Never Land Pirates - Jake's Musical Pirate Ship Bucky

As far as Mckayla’s presents go, her pretend makeup is the absolute best, pretend makeup that exists on the market:

Little Cosmetics Essential Pretend Makeup Set

It is completely pretend but it seems totally real.  So perfect.

Finally, I made the kids some colorful ribbon streamers and it has also been a BIG hit as a dancing accessory.


dancing with ribbon streamers


 

Thanks to everyone who commented on my Facebook page about what gifts your kids are using most…. it gives me good ideas for my kiddos birthdays in 2014.

 

The Meaning Behind Christmas Decor {Printable}

Today is the last of my 24 Days of Printables!  If you missed out you can check out the Facebook Album & you’ll have plenty to do over the holiday break.

I wanted to introduce the meaning of our Christmas decorations and when I googled the meanings there were no visuals for kids to make easy associations SO I thought that this task would be perfect for my last Christmas printable for 2013:



Meaning of Christmas Visual.001



It’s super kid-friendly so I hope you enjoy it!

 

Christmas Graphics: The Mommy Teacher 2013

Nativity Graphics: @Charlotte Braddock 2013

The Most Memorable Way To Give Kids Their Presents

My sister, Becca, is probably the most creative and sentimental human being that I have ever met.

She always amazes me with her thoughtfulness and the energy she spends to create special memories for our kids.

When we get our kids together she is always preparing fun snacks, special crafts, itineraries of special events, and much more.

Well, she started a tradition with all of the kids just two years ago that the kids now anticipate and remember more than any other tradition: a scavenger hunt to find their toys!



The kids were so attentive to figure out their next clue!



The kids were so attentive to figure out their next clue!

So, my awesome sister buys small toys/trinkets, writes riddles for the scavenger hunt, and has the kids play outside while she sets up all of the gifts.   Another sister, Ali, is also a PHENOMENAL gift-giver so she loves to help with the shopping and setting up of the gifts as well.

I asked Becca if she was okay with today’s printable being this year’s riddles and she was glad to share it.  So, HERE is the riddle if you want to print it and use it OR just use it as a guideline to make your own.



A Fun Scavenger Hunt Riddle to Make Gift-giving even more special for kids!



Here is an example of one of the riddles in action:


And here is the play-by-play of this year’s scavenger hunt:

1) Favorite Bible Stories Coloring Books on the playroom table.

2) A piñata hanging in the backyard.

3) Nativity Magnets and birthday blowers in the kitchen.

4) Candy Canes in the bedroom.

5) Presents under the tree in the living room.

 

 

Favorite Christmas Traditions

I made a printable to piggyback this morning’s post…. you should definitely go back and read it if you haven’t had a chance!

Or, you can always “Pin It” and save it to read later. 😉

I made a journal template for Christmas traditions so that you could help your kids write out their traditions as a keepsake, but I decided that I am going to print one for myself.

I want my kids to get to see what my childhood traditions were so they could learn a little and yes, even compare the traditions from my childhood to theirs.

So, here it is:



Favorite Traditions Journal



Oh, and Stick these in a folder or binder with sheet protectors so you can always add pictures later!



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