5 Festive Christmas Treats

Let me be honest, one of my favorite parts of December are the festive Christmas treats and sweets. Some of my family’s deepest traditions include certain foods, or the experience of making them together. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve passed these traditions on to my kids, too. While we have our favorites, we are always open to making new fun treats. As I was working on this post, my youngest spied the reindeer gingerbread cookies below, and requested they be added to our holiday baking list. So, grab a little helper and head to the kitchen to enjoy these 5 Festive Christmas Treats!

5 Festive Christmas Treats

5 Festive Christmas Treats

Reindeer Gingerbread Cookies | Your Kids OT

Christmas Pops | Cutting Tiny Bites

Caribou Chocolate Donuts | Christianity Cove 

Chocolate Raspberry Christmas Bars | Path Through the Narrow Gate

Pretty Christmas Sugar Cookies | My Sweet Mission

Good Tips Tuesday LinkUp Party

Good Tips Tuesday 1/6 | Golden Reflections Blog

We want this to be a resource for you to find Good Tips for your life, home, kids and everything in between! So what kinds of posts are you able to link up now? Check out this awesome list!

  • Recipes & Cooking Tips
  • Homemaking Tips
  • Parenting Tips
  • Kids crafts & Activity Tips

Your hosts each week are:

Golden Reflections Blog

Simply Sherryl

A Bird And A Bean

Happy Brown House

A Diligent Heart

The Gracious Wife

Good Tips Tuesday

Now let’s get to today’s Good Tips Tuesday party!

  • Link up your recipe/cooking, homemaking, parenting, and kids craft/activity tips below (4 per person please)
  • Please link directly to your post, not to your main blog page. All links that do not follow this will be deleted.
  • Visit other posts in the party, comment, tweet, pin and let them know you came from GTTuesday!
  • We will feature 4 posts each week, picked via random.org. We will each be picking our favorite post from the week and pinning all of the featured posts and favorite posts to the GTTuesday Pinterest Board!

Follow Heather @ Golden Reflections Blog’s board Good Tips Tuesday #GTTuesday on Pinterest.


  • By linking up and including a picture, you agree to allow Golden Reflections Blog, Simply Sherryl, A Bird And A Bean, & Happy Brown House, A Diligent Heart, and The Gracious Wife to use your pictures and links in future featured post/photo collage like this one. Your photo may also be used for promotion on all social media outlets of all the before mentioned blogs with the corresponding link # given of your entry.
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We can’t wait to see all the amazing posts you will be linking up this week!


Heather, Sherryl, Erin, Sara, Marlene, & Michelle

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Christopher Columbus Activities for Kids

We’ve been studying Early Explorers at our house in the first few weeks of homeschool. During our Christopher Columbus Unit, we’ve looked at maps of Christopher Columbus’ accidental voyage to North America, made our own versions of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria, and so much more! I’ve pulled together all of the best Christopher Columbus Activities for Kids–snacks, crafts, printables, and more– for inspiration and wanted to share them with you! This list would be perfect for your own Christopher Columbus unit or for Columbus Day Activities for Kids, which is in October.

Note: There is a fantastic giveaway at the bottom of this post! Don’t miss your chance to win!

30+ Christopher Columbus Activities for Kids

Columbus Crafts & Activities for Kids

Have your little one practice cutting skills while making a Columbus Day Collage from Crayon Freckles. Isn’t this one just adorable?

Christopher Columbus Collage

Make a Triple Sail Boat out of simple shapes, craft sticks, and cereal from Reel Mama.

Columbus Day Craft: Triple Sail Boat

Create a sensory experience with this Columbus Day Spice Painting. Kids will be sure to remember that Christopher Columbus was originally trying to find a western trade route to India and China with this activity!

Columbus Day Spice Painting

Make an adorable handprint keepsake with a Handprint Columbus Boat Craft from The View from the Pew.

Handprint Columbus Boat Craft

Give your kids an engineering challenge to design and build a boat that floats. This is a great STEM activity using recycle materials!

Engineer this: Build a boat that floats STEM challenge for kids

Recycle plastic fruit cups from your kids’ lunch box to make some boats to float in the water table. Originally a Thanksgiving & Mayflower Craft, this would still work for Columbus and other explorers.Mayflower craft made from recycled fruit cup

Dig in your recycle bin again and make Egg Carton Columbus Day Boats that really float!

Egg Carton Columbus Day Boats that really float

Still want more boat ideas? Here is a round-up of 18 Boat Crafts for Kids to Make gathered by Kids Activities Blog.18 Boat Crafts for Kids to Make

Columbus Snacks for Kids

Make a healthy Columbus Day Snack with lots of fruits and veggies.

Columbus Day Snack

Serve miniature Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria boats for a Columbus Day Muffin Tin Meal out of shrimp and cheese.

Muffin Tin Meal: Columbus Day Boats

Create a Columbus Day Bento Lunch with an educational twist that is sure to please your little ones!

Columbus Day Bento Lunch

Columbus Printables for Kids

Give your printer a workout and then laminate to your hearts content with these printable activities for Christopher Columbus.

3 Dinosaurs shares a Christopher Columbus Pack that has been updated to include 49 pages of fun! (Ages 2-8)

Christopher Columbus Printable Pack

Royal Baloo has another great Free Christopher Columbus Printable Pack that includes different activities and super cute graphics! (school-age)

Free Christopher Columbus Printable Pack from Royal Baloo

123Homeschool4Me has some super cute Columbus Day Coloring Sheets & Writing Prompts

Columbus Day Coloring Sheets & Writing Prompts

In All You Do has a set of Free Columbus Day Coloring Activities with over 32 coloring pages.

Free Columbus Day Coloring Activities

Columbus Books for Kids

*affiliate links
Don’t forget to pair these fun Christopher Columbus activities with a good book! Some of our favorites include:

Christopher Columbus (Step into Reading, Step 3, Grades 1-3)

You Wouldn’t Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus!: Uncharted Waters You’d Rather Not Cross

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus

First Voyage to America: From the Log of the “Santa Maria” (Dover Children’s Classics)

My First Biography: Christopher Columbus


Encounter (Voyager Books)

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Kid Blogger Network Fall Round-ups

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Mega Cash Giveaway!

Mega Cash Giveaway! 4 Cash Prizes of $500 given away. Enter from September 19, 2014 through October 15, 2014. What would you do with $500?

I’ve partnered up with some of the bloggers in the Kid Blogger Network to bring you another MEGA CASH Giveaway and a GIANT round-up of posts. Since this is a HUGE giveaway with lots of entries, the giveaway will run from September 19, 2014 to October 15th (4 weeks) to give you time to go through and enter.

Win one of FOUR $500 cash prizes directly in your paypal account! This giveaway is open internationally. You must be 18+ years old to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please see detailed terms and conditions below the giveaway for more info.

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Ultimate Guide to Christmas Crafts for Kids

When I was a little girl, the days before Christmas were full of crafts and baking projects. Now that I’m a mom, I’m trying to make the same memories with my boys. As I’ve been searching for crafts to go along with some of our favorite Christmas books, I’ve found a few gems that I just had to share with you.

Ultimate Guide to Christmas Crafts for Kids


Truth in the Tinsel is an absolute favorite at our house. There are 24 crafts, one for each day, to help your little one learn the story of Jesus’ birth and countdown to Christmas. (It isn’t too late to start! There are alternative schedules for you.)


Baby Jesus Softie Playset | Grace Covers Me Using pantyhose, make a soft Baby Jesus with a manger and swaddling cloth to play with and act out the Nativity Story~Perfect for toddler play!

Baby Jesus in a Manger | Crafty Mama Using craft sticks and common household items, this craft is simple enough for even young tots

Popsicle Stick Manger Scene | Casa Camacho Similar to the one above, but different. Super Cute!

Nativity Craft | Confessions of a Homeschooler Make a permanent nativity display with flowerpots

Stained Glass Jesus Craft | Confessions of a Homeschooler  Use up your old crayons and make a beautiful stained glass display.

J is for Jesus Craft | Muffin Tin Mom An adorable reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season. Ties in very well with the book,  The Legend of the Candy Cane .

Coffee Filter Angel


Coffee Filter Angel | Motherhood on a Dime Using simple materials you probably already have in your kitchen, children can make an adorable ornament or present topper

Sparkly Paper Plate Angel | Crafty Journal Use a paper plate to make an angel

Angel Ornament Craft | Amazing Moms Buy a pack of paper doilies to make this adorable angel and save the rest of the doilies for Valentine’s Day.

Handprint and Footprint Angel | Tots and Me Preserve those precious handprints and footprints with this simple angel craft

Christmas Angel Egg Carton Craft | Meaningful Mama Super cute way to recycle egg cartons and decorate the tree!

Canning Lid Angel Ornament | Kix Cereal Blog Bet you have everything you need for this super easy angel ornament!

Christmas Trees & Wreaths~

Scrap Ribbon Tree Ornaments | Fireflies & Mudpies Ribbon and a twig–so simple!

Coffee Filter Christmas Tree | I Can Teach My Child

Pinecone Christmas Trees Ornaments | Mama Jenn Turn this craft an entire memory-making experience by taking a nature walk to gather the pinecones.

Birthday Hat Christmas Tree | JDaniel4’s Mom Use a leftover birthday hat and some felt to create a mini Christmas tree kids can decorate (without Mom rearranging the ornaments!)

Paper Plate Christmas Wreaths | With or Without Nap Using a simple paper plate and whatever you can find in your craft supplies, the kids can make a wreath for their bedroom door

Paper Strip Christmas Trees | Whatever Paper and glue…easy.

Fork Printing Christmas Trees | House of Baby Piranha We love printing with household objects dipped in paint. I love the textures from the fork on this craft!

Printing Holiday Trees | Creativity First Printing with toilet paper rolls to make a tree. Kids will love this!

16 Christmas Tree Crafts | NurtureStore  A collection of Christmas Tree crafts

Bubble Wrap Trees | No Time For Flashcards Who doesn’t love bubble wrap?

Christmas Tree Sewing Lesson | Pink and Green Mama

Easy Christmas Tree Ornament | Ginger Snap Crafts It doesn’t get any easier than popsicle sticks and buttons.

Lacing Tree Ornaments | Happy Hooligans Great way to practice lacing for a fine motor Christmas craft double whammy.

Paper Bag Gingerbread House

image credit: Motherhood on a Dime; used with permission


Simple Paper Bag Gingerbread House | Motherhood on a Dime   Sugar-free way to decorate gingerbread houses and let your tot’s creative juices flow. This craft could be used in imaginative play or the sensory box after it is finished.

Paper Bag Gingerbread House Craft | Little Wonders’ Days Different than the one above, and oh, so cute!

Marble Paint Gingerbread Man | Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas This is like two craft activities in one! Let your little one enjoy marble painting, then turn it into a gingerbread man.

Gingerbread House Greeting Card | Hands On: As We Grow (guest post by Red Ted Art) Make as a card or a stand alone project. No matter what you decide, you’ll love this gingerbread house that will stand the test of time. The best part? Less mess!

Paper Bag Gingerbread Ornament | The Educators’ Spin On It So simple, but so cute!

Candy Canes & Peppermints~

Christmas Marble Painting Candy Cane | Crafts and Art for Children Let the kids marble paint and then turn it into a peppermint or candy cane

Candy Cane Crafts | Crafts and Art for Children A collection of links to Candy Cane Crafts

Puzzle Piece Candy Cane Ornament | Anders Ruff Use a puzzle that’s missing pieces and turn it into an adorable candy cane ornament


Handprint Snowmen Ornament


Handprint Snowmen Ornament | Happy Brown House

Plastic Plate Snowman Snow Globe | Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational  Kids can make and preserve their own snow globe scene with a simple clear plastic plate

Jingle Bell Snowman Ornament | Ramblings of a Crazy Woman I love this simply adorable craft. The snowman in his pom-pom earmuffs is too cute!

Puff Paint Snowman | House of Baby Piranha Kids will love messy crafting with the puffy paint! We’ve done this before, and Jonah loved it!

Easy Peanut Butter Jar Snowman | Mama Jenn Even tiny tots can help with this one by stuffing the jar with the fiberfill or cotton balls! I think my youngest would love this one.

Glue Snowman Ornament |Pink and Green Mama Kids love to mess with glue. This looks so easy and fun!

Quick & Easy Snowman Ornament for Kids | Crazy Little Projects So stinkin’ easy. I knew I saved baby food jars for a reason!



Coffee Filter Snowflakes | Happy Brown House No need for fancy folding techniques, use a coffee filter instead!

Puzzle Piece Snowflake Ornament | Lisa’s Craft Blog Use an older puzzle that is missing a few pieces to make an adorable ornament.

Snow Globe | Vanilla Joy  Kids + Glitter…need I say more?

Beaded Snowflake Ornament | Confessions of a Homeschooler This one is better suited for older kids that can handle a sharp pin.


Other Crafts~

Pine Cone Elves | Pink and Green Mama These are adorable! Dare you to only make one.

Drinking Straw and Bead Stars |Pink and Green Mama

Toy Soldier Ornament | Fireflies & Mudpies How many times can I say adorable in this list? ADORABLE.

Clay Christmas Owls | Paging Fun Mums Owl lovers will think this is a hoot! (I couldn’t resist.)

Egg Carton Jingle Bell Flowers | The Crafty Crow Gotta love egg cartons. Who knew there were so many things to make with them?

Candle Ornament | Silly Eagle Books Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!



Our family does not celebrate Santa, but I know most people will be expecting to see him on this list. I found a link to a round-up of Santa & Reindeer crafts to help get you started.

15 Santa Crafts for Kids | Life in Texas

15 Reindeer Crafts for Kids Life in Texas

Toilet Roll Reindeer | Happy Hooligans Two words: googly eyes.

 Bottle Cap Reindeer | The Country Chic Cottage We may not “do” Santa, but these would be on my tree if we did.

Craft Supplies

Want more Christmas Crafts for Kids? I’ve set up a Pinterest board for them and will continue to add to it. Feel free to follow!

Follow Sara @ Happy Brown House’s board Christmas Crafts for Kids on Pinterest.

Happy Crafting!

This post is a part of the iHomeschool Network’s 25 Days of Christmas – Ultimate Blog Hop. Be sure to click on the calendar to see all the other Ultimate Christmas links!


The Cutest Peter Pan You Ever Did See…

{This blog post has been in the works for a month~AN ENTIRE MONTH! Needless to say, it takes me longer to do EVERYTHING with two children, including blogging. Have you missed me? I sure have missed you, sweet readers! Oh, the stories I have of a colicky baby and our transition to two kids. So, while you’re recovering from Christmas shopping, allow me to reminisce about Halloween…}

Halloween. It brings up the “Super-Mommy” Complex in me. You know, the one where I refuse to just buy a costume because they are “poorly made and fall apart.”  So instead, I drag two children to Walmart in the rain after dinner to get the ONE missing supply in order to stay up late and whip out a homemade costume. Because in my mind, homemade costumes are way better. I know, it’s an illness I can’t  seem to find the cure for. It’s hereditary. {Hi Mom!}

And maybe, this costume complex just continues because they end up being so darn cute. Case in point: The cutest Peter Pan you ever did see…

Peter Pan Costme

See what I mean? This is really the first year that Jonah had a request. I’m so glad he came up with this one.

Here’s how I made it:

For the shirt, I just grabbed a green long-sleeved shirt that was too big. Cut the bottom and some of the sleeves to look tattered. Cut a “V” in the neck. (I actually messed up here and made it too large, so we put another shirt underneath.) We placed a belt around his waist.

For the pants, I grabbed an old green t-shirt from my closet and traced a pair of his pajama pants that were on the small side to make them look like Peter Pan tights. I used the bottom hem of the shirt to my advantage, so all I had to sew was the inseam and a waistband.

For the hat, I used some felt from my stash and got creative. I didn’t have a pattern and had never made a hat before. I was totally winging it. (I was inspired by Ashley at Make It and Love It, but wound up with a slightly different hat.) I ended up making two triangular-ish shapes (with the point rounded off and closer to the back). Then, I realized it wouldn’t quite be big enough for his head. So, I added a strip in between the triangle pieces. I pinched it together in the front and trimmed the excess. I added a cuff at the bottom and a red feather on the side.

I also made a dagger out of felt that we attached to his belt. This was, by far, his favorite part. Case in point…


Peter Pan had a pretty cute L’il Pumpkin, too, if I do say so myself. I mean, I am slightly biased.

Asher pumpkin 2011

Just slightly :)

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!


Over Memorial Day weekend we took Jonah to his first “official” ballgame! We’re lucky to have a Minor League team in Chattanooga, which is great for summer fun! We chose a night that would have fireworks after the game for an extra special treat. I’ll admit, we weren’t sure how he’d do with the fireworks. In the past he’s been ok, but you never know when loud noises might overwhelm a preschooler. Jonah started to cover his ears, but quickly changed to clapping and cheering with all of his might… Pure joy.


Truth be told, the group sitting in front of us was even more entertaining than the ballgame. Can you picture a large group of teenage girls from Poland at a baseball game in Tennessee? They were hilarious! We couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but they were typical teenage girls…going in groups to the bathroom/concession stand, taking pictures of innocent bystanders and making fun of them in their language, primping, and boisterous laughter all around. It was a night to remember!


Note to self: It’s too stinkin’ hot to go to a ballgame when you’re 26 weeks pregnant and the temperature reaches 96 degrees. Also, sitting on a bleacher seat is not a good idea. Ice cream in a “hat bowl” will help make up for it…even if you have to share it with a 3 year old. :)

How to Make Lollipop Valentines

I am SO excited about Jonah’s valentines this year! I’ve seen this idea all over blogland, so I can’t claim any crafting genius. I’ve joined the ranks of craft copycats with this one…but they are OH SO CUTE!! What? Don’t believe me? Take a look at this and tell me it doesn’t make your heart melt….

It was so easy to make and so much better than some cartoon character boxed set….Not that there is anything wrong with boxed sets if that’s what you used at your house! I had this idea in my head from last year and was determined to make them this year for Jonah’s Valentine Party.

These were a hit with everyone he gave them to, and I thought I would share how I made them. There are tons of tutorials out there, but here’s my version…

How to Make Lollipop Valentines | Happy Brown House

How to Make 3-D Lollipop Valentines:

1) Take a picture with your child’s arm extended into a fist. We’re going for a 3-D look so take several pictures! I tried several angles until I got the just the right photo (see below)

2) Upload the picture to Picmonkey, a free photo-editing program that is quick and easy to use. (I have a photo-editing program on my computer, but it takes a little time to navigate…I literally spent 5 minutes on these!) 3) Edit the photo in Picmonkey. I added words and a border around the edge…that got cut-off by the one-hour photo man. Here’s what my edit looked like (below)


4) Upload to your favorite place for one-hour photo. Order your prints & pick them up an hour later!


5) Cut a slit above and below the fist. Weave a lollipop through the holes.


6)  Voila!



Super-Easy, Super-Cute Valentines that are sure to get noticed!

10 Easy Last Minute Advent Calendars

Are you hoping to add a little more fun and family time to your Christmas activities this year? Me too! I’ve been on the hunt for some quick and easy last minute Advent Calendars to help our family countdown to Christmas and I thought I would share…

10 Easy Last Minute Advent Calendars:

1.  Free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional Book: Enjoy daily devotions as a family as you work through significant events throughout the Old Testament–each pointing to the Messiah! Each reading is followed by a small action to to apply and live out the day’s devotional. Brought to you by Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience…enough said?

2.  I L-O-V-E the Printable Advent Calendar from Everyday Celebrations on Etsy. So adorable & easy to make!

Photo Credit: Everyday Celebrations on Etsy

3.  Chocolate on my Cranium has 2 Printable Advent Calendars that are super simple to make. Print, Cut, Glue—-perfect for the non-crafty types.

4.  The Last Minute Printable Advent Calendar at Skip To My Lou is easy to make with envelopes, clothespins, and string.

5.  The kids will love Jan Brett’s Printable Advent Calendar

6.  Simple Spool Advent Calendar from Just Something I Made–you may not have vintage spools hanging around, but I have seen wooden spools at the local craft store in the unfinished wood crafting section.

Photo Credit: Just Something I Made

7.  Wrap up 25 Christmas books and number them. Place in a basket and read one each night. (If you don’t have 25 Christmas books, just pick some family favorites! The kids will love the mystery! Need another Christmas book to add to your collection? Enter my giveaway!)

8.  Use your kids {clean} socks for A Stocking Countdown Calendar from Family Fun. Easy!!

Photo Credit: Family Fun

9.  What if you put candy or trinkets inside toilet paper tubes? Wrap them in tissue paper and tie ribbon on each end. Number them 1-25. Voila! (Wait, you mean I’m the only one that has 25 empty toilet paper tubes saved for a rainy day project?)

10.  Don’t forget the childhood favorite—Paper Chain Countdown we made as kids! Cut strips of paper and write fun family activities on the back of each paper strip. Staple the ends together in a chain.

Get started….tomorrow is December 1st, the day the countdown begins!

Top Ten Ways to Give this Holiday Season

I know you are still finishing off the last of the candy corn, but the holiday season is here! For some, the holidays mean family gatherings, presents, and lots of yummy treats. While we love all of those things, too, in the Happy Brown House, the holiday season also means GIVING!

This year our family wants to be intentional about giving and making a big impact. We’ve been praying and planning about what and where God wants us to give. I thought I’d share some ideas on our list to help get you thinking, too…

1. Sponsor a child through Compassion International!

2. Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child! Collection Week is November 15-22

3. Donate to The Mercy House Kenya or purchase a Christmas gift from their Etsy shop! (Have I mentioned how much I love my necklace? I do. I plan outfits around it…Seriously.)

4. Give Water! Take your pick….Blood:Water Mission, Living Water International, Charity:Water

5. Pick a local family to bless! (Ask a church or school to help you connect with a needy family)

6. Volunteer to serve a meal at your local homeless shelter.

7. Pick a name from the “Angel Tree”. Have your children help choose the name and gifts!

8. Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House! Can you imagine how hard it must be to have a sick child during the holidays? Go love on these families!

9. Visit a shut-in. Give them the gift of conversation or offer to help them with a household project.

10. Give a copy of your favorite book to a classroom.

11. Fill in the blank: ________ I’m sure you’ve got ideas, too. Share them with me in the comments!

How are you planning to give?