DIY ornaments

Most of us are familiar with salt dough ornaments. However, thanks to Tips From a Typical Mom on Pinterest I recently attempted a recipe for clay ornaments instead of salt dough. The recipie was extremely easy to make.

1. Ingredients:
-Baking soda

2. Put all ingredients into a pot on medium heat and stir until thickened. The consistency should be similar to mashed potatoes. (This happens pretty quick so be watchful)

3. Take out the dough and place it in a dish with a damp towel on top. Allow to cool completely. (Great time to change a diaper, eat a snack,take a nap)

4. Put cornstarch on a flat surface and roll out your dough to about 1/4 thick. Drizzle cornstarch on your rolling pin as well (or cup if you lack a rolling pin).

5. Use cookie cutters to make ornament shapes or create your own freestyle shapes. I used the cup I used to roll the dough to make circle shapes.

6. Decorate by layering different shapes together. (Do not paint yet). I wanted my ornaments to be of my daughters handprint. I placed her little hand on each circle to make an imprint. (This was much more difficult than expected). I used a chop stick to poke a hole in the top of the ornament to be able to hang it later.

7. Place ornaments on a cookie sheet in an oven on 250 degrees F. Set a timer for 30 minutes, turn the ornaments, and set another 30 minute timer.

8. Take out the ornaments allow them to cool and then decorate with paint or whatever you choose. Modge podge looks great on this type of dough, makes it shiny white. I painted Modge podge on mine and used paint or puff paint to write her name and the year on the back of the handprint.

These were very simple to make and I cannot wait until next year to make them again when she can be more involved. I think this may become a tradition of her making an ornament each year!










25 Christmas books

Looking for ideas for Christmas books? Well, look no further! After, I posted about Christmas traditions I realized several of them included books. Here are 25 great book ideas!

Legend of the Poinsettia- Tomie dePaola

The Tomten – Astrid Lindgren

Santa’s Snow Cat- Sue Stainton

Gingerbread Baby- Jan Brett


The Night Before Christmas- Charles Santore

How the Grinch Stole Christmas- Dr. Seuss

Polar Express- Chris Van Allsburg

Christmas Trolls- Jan Brett

Welcome Comfort- Patricia Polacco

Dream Snow- Eric Carle

Trees of the Dancing Goats- Patricia Polacco

One Snowy Night- M. Christina Butler

The Father Christmas letters- J.R.R. Tolkien

Room for a Little One- Martin Waddell

Snowmen on Christmas- Caralyn Buehner


The Wild Christmas Reindeer- Jan Brett

The Christmas Wish- Lori Evert

Llama Llama Jingle Bells- Anna Dewdney

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas- James Dean

The Littlest Christmas Tree- R.A. Herman

God Gave us Christmas- Lisa Tawn Bergren

The Littlest Elf- Brandi Dougherty

The Legend of Old Befana- Tomie dePaola

Llama Llama Holiday Drama- Anna Dewdney

Gingerbread Man- Jim Aylesworth

The Spirit of Christmas- Nancy Tillman

A Pirates Night Before Christmas- Phillip Yates

Bear Stays Up for Christmas- Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas- Jane Yolen

There are many more amazing Christmas books out there. Perhaps, next year I could do a book a day for the 25 days of Christmas and include helpful information for each book.
If you have a favorite Christmas book whether it was mentioned above or not please share it with me in the comments!



25 Christmas Traditions

If you are looking for a Christmas Tradition or a new addition to your traditions here are some festive ideas!

1. Christmas Eve box- A box to enjoy on Christmas Eve with a Christmas movie, pajamas, snacks, and beverage.

Photo Credit: Frugal Fanatic

Photo Credit: Frugal Fanatic

2. Cookies for Santa- Self explanatory, if Santa is on a diet maybe ants on a log is a better option!
3. Gifts wrapped from mom and dad and gifts from Santa unwrapped- The thought behind this is that Elves make gifts (not wrap them) so any toys from Santa should already be put together and ready to play. These gifts are under the tree as well as wrapped gifts from mom and dad.
4. Christmas pajamas- Prepare for Christmas morning by dawning super comfy and new pajamas.
5. Christmas movies- Go see a movie on Christmas day but prepared the theaters are usually very busy on Christmas.
6. Yearly Christmas ornaments- Let the kids pick out one new ornament for the tree each year.
7. Christmas pictures- If you are brave enough to try to get the entire family to smile at once!

Awkward Family Photo Submitted by Samantha

Awkward Family Photo
Submitted by Samantha

8. Christmas card/newsletter- Write a blerb telling our friends and family what your family has been up to this past year.
9. 25 Christmas books- Give the kids one book for each of the 25 days of Christmas.
10. Caroling- Sing in your house, sing at grandma’s, or sing around your neighborhood, just be jolly!
11. Good deed (lay away angel)- Pay off a portion of someones lay away, pay for the food of the person in front of you, or just any good deed your heart desires.

Layaway Angels  Brandon Goodwin/ Today

Layaway Angels
Brandon Goodwin/ Today

12. Christmas craft- Thanks to pinterest crafts are easy to find let your kids get their excitement out and make a craft.
13. Elf on the shelf- A book and a elf doll. The elf is there to watch your kids and report back to Santa.
14. Fill shoes with candy- Have your kids leave their shoes out and fill them with candy (instead of stockings or along side).
15. Pick a Christmas tree- Take your whole family to a Christmas tree farm and pick the perfect tree. Or just go to the store and let them choose a fake tree if cutting down a tree just is not for you.
16. Decorate Christmas tree- Play Christmas Music and decorate the Christmas tree together one ornament at a time.
17. Flour and glitter footprints for Santa- Keep the magic alive and have your kids wake up to Santa footprints around the house.
18. Gingerbread houses- Build a gingerbread house together or have a gingerbread house building competition!
19. Theater nutcracker or Christmas carol- Have the family dress up and go watch a therater production of a Christmas Carol or the Nutcracker.
20. Holiday lights show- Drive around the neighborhood with the best lights display and ooohhh and ahhh all the way!
21. Visiting Santa- Go sit on Santa’s lap, take pictures, and pray your kid won’t cry!
22. Write letters to Santa- Have your kids write a letter to Santa. Maybe challenge them to make it a poem. Either way its a great way to find out what they want.
23. Christmas cracker- An English tradition you can buy at a store or online. You pop the cracker and there are trinkets inside, a poem, a small toy, and a paper crown.

Christmas Cracker

24. Nativity- Take the family to see a live nativity. A great way to bring about religious conversations with your kids.
25. Pick a country- Let your kids pick a different country each year and try out one of their unique holiday traditions. A great learning experience!

Ideas to Spark a Christmas Tradition

Christmas is coming!

As excited new parents we of course are all up in “Christmas Tradition” making mode. It is fun but also can be difficult to determine how to build a new tradition while each parent also wants to pass down the traditions from their childhood. You want to create something new out of the old without stepping on anyone’s special time-honored traditions toes.

Traditions are special

It’s not the gifts that children look forward to during the holiday season but the traditions. Knowing what to expect each year, with a bit of surprise is a sure-fire way to build up the anticipation! Traditions are something that stick with you always and take you to happy memories filled with nostalgia.

Do you want to build traditions?

When Grayson (My husband) and I began discussing the matter of Christmas traditions, we each immediately grasped for our childhood traditions. After we exhausted all the memories and intricacies associated with our respective traditions we knew we needed to find a way to intermingle them. Below are snippets of each of our traditions.

Grayson: Christmas Eve gift of pajamas to wear to bed and open gifts on Christmas morning. Extended family all go to one house Christmas Eve to wake up together Christmas Morning. Christmas breakfast of blini (also know as crepes), and Christmas lunch but not a set menu. Then the finale of the day is going to a movie.

Erica: Christmas Eve gift exchange between mom, dad, and children. Make cookies and set them out for Santa. Open presents from Santa on Christmas morning and yummy cinnamon rolls for breakfast (along with other foods of choice). Christmas lunch at Grandma’s with extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) and bagel sandwiches with every meat and cheese you could want, homemade macaroni and cheese, and more. We also open gifts from grandma and grandpa.

Our Tradition


Grab yourself some sweet geek swag by clicking on the picture

We decided to make our tradition from pieces of each of our experiences but to also add something new. We will spend Christmas Eve at our own home, make cookies for Santa, and open a gift of Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas Morning. Our new addition will also be on Christmas Eve. A box will be opened for each child. Inside will be their Christmas pajamas, a Christmas book or movie, hot chocolate, and snacks. The movie will be watched, book will be read, and snacks will be devoured on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas day we will open gifts from Santa at our house first and then go to Grayson’s parents for Christmas gifts there, breakfast, lunch, and, when our children are old enough, the movie. We will go to his parents simply because we live in the same city as them. My family lives 17 hours away so if we ever go there for Christmas we will do my family’s traditions.IMG_0163.JPG

Final Thoughts

Every tradition is special, so remember to be respectful of one another’s wants. Finding a tradition that will work for your family is very similar to the idea of a unity candle (or other symbol) in a marriage ceremony. Each person’s individual gifts are joined together. From pajamas to movies, anything can be a tradition. It’s making it work and creating those special memories for your family that’s the important part.

We would love to hear about your traditions! Maybe we can mingle them with ours. Please share your thoughts with us!