Christmas Mouse Craft: DIY Ornament

It seems as though you can’t get through the holidays without the story of a Christmas mouse or two. Whether it be the story of The Nutcracker or Christopher’s Christmas, mice just seem to get us in the holiday spirit. This holiday, why not do a little mouse crafting with your kids? Take a look below at how to use some very basic supplies to make your own cute Christmas mouse craft.

christmas-mouse-craft-diy-ornament

Cute Christmas Ornament Craft

Supplies needed:
Walnut shells
Nail
Hammer
Googly eyes
Black string
Craft pom poms
White and red felt
Scissors

We were able to find all of the above supplies at our local craft store. If you are looking for walnuts, most grocery stores have them or just ask your friends. You would be surprised how many people may have some on hand in their own yards. If you can’t find walnuts, any large nut shell will do.

Directions:
1. You want to begin by splitting your walnut in half. To do this, look for the seam and place your nail in it. Hammer gently to break it apart. This of course is a step best left up to adults.
2. Now, add the nose of the mouse. To do this, take a small pom pom or snip some of the fuzz off of a pom pom and glue it to the shell as we did.
3. Cut a few small lengths of black string and add a tiny dab of glue to the ends. Secure them under the pom pom. Adjust them and fluff them to make them look natural.
4. A mouse has to have eyes, so add a dab of glue to your googly eyes and press them to the shell right above the nose.
5. Now it is time to make his Santa hat. Roll a small piece of red felt into a cone, like an ice cream cone. Secure with glue. Cut a small, skinny rectangle from your white felt to trim the hat. Secure with glue.
6. Secure the hat on the top of the nut using your glue again. We also cut two small and white ovals from our felt that we glued onto the side of the hat as ears. It gave it a cute touch.
7. Finally, you can glue a pom pom to the end of the hat if you wish, a white one looks best and gives it that true Santa hat look.

Now all you need to do is discover some great mouse themed holiday stories to enjoy with your new and furry little friends. Children will enjoy creating a whole family of these, and you will enjoy how you can tie them into the many mouse stories available during the season.

Happy crafting!



Homemade Gift Ideas

Homemade Gift Ideas

homemade-gift-ideas-600x600

  1. Reindeer Food Recipe
  2. Cards, Tags, and Wrapping Paper
  3. Thumb Print Ornaments
  4. Manicure in a Jar
  5. Body Scrub: Sugar and Sage
  6. Handprint Art Oven Mitts
  7. Homemade Vanilla
  8. Peppermint Candy Bowl and Peppermint Candy Tree
  9. Hot Chocolate in a Jar
  10. Sharpie Coffee Mugs

The Mavens of Money group is comprised of 11 bloggers: MadameDeals | The Coupon Challenge | Mom On Dealz | Coupons are Great | This Mama Loves | A Frugal Chick | The Centsible Family | Stretching Your Budget | Penny Filled Pantry | Freebie Spot | Saving Toward Better Life
Link your Homemade Gift Ideas below!


Holiday Treat Recipes: Rudolph Cupcakes and Fondant #Recipe

Here’s another in our Holiday Treat Recipes series: Rudolph Cupcakes.  These are fun and I’ll be honest- you can do these one of 2 ways.  Make your fondant at home or skip most of the work and order it online. My preference is Satin Ice brand fondant.

reindeer-cupcakes-instructions

Ingredients:

2 Cups Sugar

½ Cup Water

2 tbsp Light Corn Syrup

Powdered sugar

Red Candy Sprinkles

Candy eyes

Brown food coloring

Black Glitter Gel Frosting

 

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water and corn syrup.

Stir until all sugar is dissolved.

Cover saucepan, and allow to boil for 2 minutes.

Remove cover and allow syrup to heat to 240 degrees, do not stir during this time.

While syrup is heating, sprinkle a large baking sheet with powdered sugar.

Once syrup has reached 240 degrees, pour into prepared baking sheet.

Allow to set at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Once syrup has cooled enough to handle, use a scraper or spatula to push syrup into a pile in the center of your baking sheet.

Using your spatula stir mixture repeatedly, and continue to scrap back to the center.

Once syrup becomes opaque, using damp hands and begin to knead the fondant, it will become softer the more you knead it.

Wrap fondant in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 5 hours before using.  (OR, buy Satin Ice and skip ahead to where you add the food coloring).

Reindeer:

Using your food coloring, add 2-3 drops into your fondant and knead until color is uniform.

reindeer-cupcakes-face

Roll your fondant out to ¼ inch thick. Using an oval cookie cutter to cut out the shape for the head.

reindeer-cupcakes-face-on-cupcakePlace on top of your cupcakes.

reindeer-cupcakes-face-eyes

Dampen the back of red sprinkles and eyes, and place them on the face of your reindeer.

reindeer-cupcakes-antlers

Using the black glitter gel frosting, draw on two antlers, and a mouth on to the reindeer.

reindeer-cupcakes-finished

Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.

How cute are these?  Check out our other Holiday Treat Recipes!

123 Tracing App Helps Kids Learn to Write Numbers

Kid’s Academy, one of the most successful developers of apps for kids has released what might be their biggest app yet. 123 Tracing  is an excellent educational app designed for younger students. This cute game helps kids trace numbers and get in the habit of writing and forming these letters that they will use the rest of their lives.

 learn-to-write-numbers-app

The app is live and available to download via iTunes, Google Play and Amazon at:

iTunes

Google Play

Amazon

 learn-to-write-numbers-preschool-app

Kid’s Academy is all about helping children learn verbal, writing and math skills in an easy and fun manner. Apps such as 123 Tracing and Bingo ABC have been top-50 educational apps in the App Store, and Kid’s Academy has also brought the well-known stories and nursery rhymes The Three Little Pigs and Five Little Monkeys to life with interactive apps. The simple interfaces of the apps allow children to take the reins and play on their own, but the sing-a-longs and other activities are perfect for parent or teacher engagement, as well. Research has shown that singing along with nursery rhymes has cognitive and physical benefits for children. Not only are children learning new words and the context in which to use them, but strengthening tongue and mouth muscles at an early age will help with pronunciation skills.

 

About Kid’s Academy Company

Kids Academy is an early childhood education start-up specialized in development apps for major mobile markets: App Store, Google Play and Amazon. The rapidly growing company is bringing value through education for children aged 2 to 6 teaching kids numbers, upper- and lower- case letters, word-letter associations, phonics, and spelling, and brings them endless fun and excitement through play activities.  Founded in the end of 2011 with the first application released in July 2012, Kids Academy has six nice apps and recently reached 2 million downloads. The apps developed by Kids Academy received dozens of positive reviews and were top rated by Children’s Technology and Parent Reviews. Interactive ABC by Kids Academy was featured by The Guardian in mobile tech review.

 

For more information, please visit:

Website: http://www.kidsacademy.mobi/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KidsAcademyCompany

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kids__Academy

How to annoy your spouse with Microsoft OneNote #WindowsChampion

First and foremost, you have to know that I am a Windows Champion for Microsoft this year.  As part of my partnership with them, I got to go to Seattle and learn oh so very much about Microsoft, Windows 8.1, Office365 and OneNote. Of course, being me, I can’t just share with you about how it works I have to be me.   So naturally, when we started using OneNote  on all of our devices, I started having some fun.

So he’ll have a to-do list.

microsoft-onenote-phone-funAnd I’ll add some things.   Like… A list of things to do. And maybe just one thing, or maybe every line, I add some commentary. Or suggestions. Or I paste in photos of things I think are funny.

microsoft-onenote-phone-fun-2Or of things I want.   Or maybe I change up the puncutation.   Or include a really HILARIOUS video.

microsoft-onenote-funny-wifeThat’s what’s FUN about OneNote.  It’s like instant fun.  Everything saves by itself, and you never have to actually “save” it. So if someone happens to come in and you close the app quickly, well, it’s still there.  Your funny is auto saved.

 

So it’s not like he’d see that it was “last edited by” his awesome wife tonight, like I’m doing now.

5 Reasons to Send Your Kid to Preschool

This post brought to you by Creme De La Creme. All opinions are 100% mine.

Allowing your child to get a head start in preschool has many benefits. Preschool doesn’t  just prepare your child for kindergarten

1. Nearly 80 percent of brain development occurs before age five. Choosing a high-quality preschool program will give you the head start they deserve in life.

2. A great preschool will lay a great foundation for knowledge needed for school. When your child starts kindergarten and already knows how to do the things they’re teaching, that opens the door for advancement and even faster learning.

3. Interacting on a daily basis with peers their age helps improve their social skills, and self-confidence.

4. Craft and art projects, reading, and playing games – these are all educational activities cleverly disguised as “fun” in preschools!

5. For many children, preschool is the first time they experience true structure on a larger scale. Kids thrive on structure, and a good preschool provides that.

The best preschools I’ve found that meet all those criteria and more is Creme de la Creme.

Here’s an excerpt from their website and a $500 coupon so you can try them out yourself…

More than anything else, what defines Creme de la Creme preschool is the success of our students who come back and share stories of how their Creme experience gave them the tools they needed to excel in school, in relationships, and in life.

The facilities look like Disney world when you walk in – it’s too cool for the parents and for the kids to experience.

Call now and get up to $500 off your tuition.

“CBS… found a place where everything is up to date in education, 
where they have gone about as far as anyone can go.” Dan Rather CBS Evening News

“Now for the lucky few who have access, there’s a new trend among some day-care providers to make pre-school much more sophisticated and luxurious then it’s ever been.” Tom Brokaw NBC Nightly News 

“It’s Disneyland because of the design… it’s Harvard because of the emphasis on early childhood education.” Good Morning America 

“It’s a pre-school for the 21st century.” Diane Sawyer Good Morning America

Crème de la Crème’s passion for child development has spawned research to enhance the learning experience in young minds. In fact, Crème has been bringing out the greatness within children since 1980, earning awards for the best daycare and the best childcare centers throughout Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. Within minutes of arriving you’ll understand why children enjoy learning at Crème.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Internet Safety with Kids

The internet is an amazing source of information. It can give people who use it information about anything in a matter of seconds. When it comes to kids and the internet, it does cause parents some concern, and rightly so.

keeping-kids-safe-online

This post about internet safety with kids is sponsored.  

Most kids should be taught how to be internet savvy, no matter their age. Parents should also make an effort to teach their children certain rules about the internet. What may seem to be a relatively harmless search could end up reaching a website that is full of pornographic material. This sort of website could be reached by some simple spelling errors on the keyboard.

Thankfully, there have been laws enforced in regards to internet safety and kids. The law is called COPPA, which stands for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This law is designed to protect the privacy of children online. This act enforces a website to have their privacy policies in full view, which explains that no personal information on a minor is collected, stored, or used without the consent of a parent.

When it comes to gaming and the internet, gaming sites are not permitted to obtain certain information for a child who is under the age of consent. The only information the website is permitted to collect is perhaps a made up screen name to allow the minor to participate in a contest or game.

This law protects a child’s privacy somewhat. However, it is up to the parent to regulate and enforce internet safety rules when it comes to a minor. You could protect your child online by utilizing various online tools to block access to certain websites. Another way to ensure your child’s safety is by checking to see if your internet service provider offers parental control options. Check with your internet service provider to see if these options are available.

Overall, it is up to the parent to become computer illiterate so you can monitor your child’s online activity. It also helps to have the computer in a common area where you will be able to see what activities your child is participating in online. When a computer is behind closed doors, you can never be sure of what type of websites your child is visiting nor whether or not they are in a chat room forming a conversation with a potential predator.

Keep your child safe online by enforcing internet safety rules in your home and for publicly accessible computers.

 keeping-kids-safe-online

You may want to consider using Hotspot Shield- a VPN service. Hotspot Shield secures browsing sessions, detects and blocks malware, hides IP addresses, and allows you to access blocked websites (e.g. Netflix from certain countries). It’s a free download and can protect your kids while they are online.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Here’s an easy and delish buttercream frosting recipe for you!

buttercream-frosting-recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 Tbs pure vanilla
  • 2 Tbs meringue powder
  • ¼ cup water (+/-)

Directions

Using stand mixer, cream butter and shortening in mixing bowl.  Once smooth, add vanilla and mix until blended.

 

Gradually add 2-3 cups of sugar.  Add the 2 tablespoons of meringue powder (this will keep frosting from falling or melting in warmer conditions and adds a nice flavor).

 

Next add half of the water and continue mixing while gradually adding the remaining sugar.

 

Continue adding water until you have the consistency you desire.  You’ll want slightly thinner for spreading and a bit thicker for piping.

 

This is a very smooth, almost whipped frosting that you’ll absolutely love!

 

 

 

My Favorite Things Giveaway- Coffee! #MyFavoriteThings

I am so excited to welcome you to OUR FAVORITE THINGS GIVEAWAY!! 

my-favorite-things-giveaway-event

There are 19 of us who have collaborated and each of us has created a wonderful prize pack of OUR favorite things- for YOU, our readers!

Here’s what to do:

  • Check out the gorgeous collage of awesome above
  • Scroll down to see my prize up close and personal
  • Enter to win MY favorite things using the giveaway widget at the end of this post
  • Hope on over to all of the other sites to enter to win their gorgeous prize packs!
  • Check out the sites of the 19 creative bloggers–they will not disappoint!

 

Enter to win ONE or ninteen, what ever looks fun to you.  There’s such a great variety from all the bloggers.  There’s something for everyone!

My Prize Package - 3
Coffee is one of my FAVORITE things in the world.  I love it.  So for my favorite things giveaway prize pack, I chose 4 lbs of holiday flavored coffees, my favorite Thermos travel mug (it keeps your warms WARM and your hots HOT), some Godiva chocolates because who doesn’t love chocolate? AND an Amazon Gift Card because gift cards are marvelous.  my-favorite-things-giveaway-coffee
Giveaway Blog Hop - 2

1. About a Mom | 2. A Helicopter Mom | 3. Moscato Mom | 4. Homemaking Hacks | 5. Better in Bulk | 6. The Rebel Chick | 7. Around My Family Table | 8. Mom Luck | 9. A Nut in a Nutshell | 10. Kids Fun Reviewed | 11. Just Stop Screaming | 12. Moody Mama Says | 13. Sunshine and Sippy Cups | 14. This Mama Loves | 15. The Adventures of J-Man and MillerBug | 16. Our Family World | 17. The Mommy Insider | 18. The Divine Miss Mommy | 19. MiscFinds4U

Sponsored Video: Baby’s First Christmas

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I can’t even explain it. The magic of it all almost overwhelms me. Seeing it through the eyes of children just makes my heart sing. And part of that magic for me is how much kindness and goodwill there is in everyday life. If only it was year round. The wonder and awe of the magic of Christmas can really be enjoyed when you have a baby in your family- your own baby, or a loved ones baby. There’s just so much about babies that brings hope and joy – just like Christmas does. This post about baby’s first Christmas is sponsored by our friends at Fisher Price.
baby girl

Babies mean new life. They offer hope. They have a way of bringing out the softest side of almost everyone and can reduce you to a puddle in a glance. At the holidays, families gather together to celebrate- my family included. I know my family gets giddy when there’s a baby to celebrate Christmas with for the first time- the family grows, there are new traditions to be begun, old traditions to share, and memories to be made.

In our family, baby’s first Christmas absolutely includes gifts- it’s hard to not want to just ‘get a little something” for an adorable new baby! My mom always got the kids an LLBean backpack filled with hardcover children’s books she thought were wonderful. But she also got them something fun, and as many of the toys and gear have been through the years, Fisher Price was, has been and continues to a brand we purchase again and again. From the “big” gear items like a bassinet, bouncy seat, or jumperoo to baby’s first toys and mobile, Fisher Price offers quality materials and construction with fun, engaging components and design to delight your baby for a long time to come- and likely,

Fisher-Price made this absolutely adorable video using a holiday jingle and it just made me smile so big as I watched thinking back with my own kids and their excitement each year as Christmas morning come!

Just look at THIS little cutie! I love watching this video :)