Easy Santa Handprint Ornaments

December 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Christmas, Holidays

Each year, I enjoy making ornaments with my students. I try to find ornaments that aren’t too expensive or time consuming.  Here is a video that shows how to make handprint Santa ornaments. I made this video a few years ago with my children. We made several of these to give away to aunts and grandparents. Enjoy!

Here is a picture of one I made a few years ago. I was teaching pre-k so I laminated these so that they would last longer.

santa handprint ornament from TheThriftyMommy.com

You might also like these Snowmen Ornaments.


Product Review: FamilyLife Resurrection Eggs

A few months ago, we purchased a home.  You know how it is to move — you soon find things that you forgot existed.  Each week I am unpacking more boxes and sorting through many years of accumulated possessions.  Many things we don’t need and are put into a “get rid of” pile.  Through all of the sorting and purging I found our Resurrection Eggs.  I hadn’t seen them in a few years and was excited to share these with my children this year.

resurrection eggs

The Resurrection Egg kit comes with 12 plastic eggs that are easily stored in a plastic egg carton.  Eleven of the eggs come with different items to help tell the story of Christ’s life, burial, and resurrection.  The last egg is empty which allows us to explain the resurrection.  (My kids loved this part!)  Also included is a booklet with an explanation of each egg which includes scripture references.

Each box contains:

  • 1 durable plastic egg carton
  • 12 plastic eggs
  • 11 unique objects to illustrate the Easter story
  • 1 bilingual booklet (English and Spanish)

The Resurrection Eggs can be purchased through FamilyLife, Christian Book Distributors, or at your local Christian bookstore.  Although some people have chosen to make their own kits, I find that $12.99 is a great value for the unique pieces and the booklet.

My children enjoyed the Resurrection Eggs and I plan to use these in the future with them.  I have also used this at my church when we had an egg hunt.  If you plan to use it for Sunday School or an egg hunt, I would recommend reading through the booklet first, as it is a bit lengthy and you might need to shorten it.

Have you ever used the Resurrection Eggs kit?

image FamilyLife

Disclaimer:  These views are my own. This is not a sponsored post.


Product Review: Next Step Hip Messenger Bag

July 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Product Reviews

Both of my children were born in July. This is the time of year when new toys begin arriving at my house. Along with new toys comes product reviews.  It’s important to let other parents know what to expect before they spend their money. 

First up for review is the Next Step Hip Messenger Bag.  This product is sold at Walmart for $10.

My daughter is artistic and creative. She would rather draw and create something than play with toys. This gift was a great choice for her.

The Next Step messenger bag comes with a variety of iron-on designs in themes such as rock, cheerleading, and camouflage. There are also iron-on letters and stars to help you make your bag one of a kind.

Pros: The bag has an assortment of iron-ons. There are over 190 to choose from. You can make your bag unique. At $10, this makes an inexpensive gift idea. My daughter and her friend had a fun time designing how she wanted the bag to look. We designed the front and back of the bag and had some supplies leftover which I kept for other craft projects.

Cons: When I took the messenger bag out of the box I was surprised at how small it was. This bag could not be used for a school bag. It is about 10 x 13 and the material is very thin. I think it would be more suitable for a purse. The iron-on appliques seemed difficult to adhere to the bag. It took longer than the instructions stated and I was careful to be sure the designs were completely attached before removing the film.  The bag came with silver fabric paint that they said you should use to attach the stars to the bag.  I applied a very small amount of the fabric paint to the stars and as you can see in the picture it comes out from behind the stars and leaves silver paint on the bag.  After applying the first star, I wished that I hadn’t used the fabric paint.  To make the paint look more intentional rather than a mistake, I applied enough paint to make a circle and then put the star in the middle of the circle.  If I were able to make this bag again, I would not use the stars.

Other thoughts:  This bag is a cute idea.  My daughter enjoyed making and designing it.  You shoud know that this is not a school bookbag.  It will serve as a cute purse for my daughter.  If you decide to purchase this bag, be sure to check your iron-ons before removing the film and leave your film on all of the designs until you are finished so that you don’t accidentally bump the other appliques with your iron.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. These thoughts and opinions are my own.


Homemade Playdough Recipe

My kids really enjoy playing with playdough.  I have found that homemade playdough is very easy and inexpensive to make.  It also lasts longer and is softer and easier to mold.  Today we made two batches of playdough, some “cookies”, and we also decorated our creations.  Here are some pictures of our day and a recipe for you.



Playdough Recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • food coloring of choice (5-10 drops)

Mix all the ingredients, adding the food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until play dough has a smooth consistency. Remove play dough from the pan and allow to cool for a few minutes. Knead until smooth. After it has cooled, place it in a plastic bag or airtight container to keep it soft.

Thrifty gift idea:  Make some of this to use as an inexpensive party favor. Save frosting containers for the playdough.  Decorate or cover the containers.

Another tip: When I was teaching preschool, we would multiply this recipe times four so that we would have enough for about eight kids.  Also, we would make a color of playdough for each month which went along with the color of the month we were studying.


Easy Kid-Friendly Snowmen Ornaments

December 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Christmas, Holidays

Are you looking for an inexpensive gift idea for family members? Maybe you’re looking for an easy Christmas craft for the kids.  You might like these snowmen ornaments.

For this project, I purchased a box of shatterproof bulb ornaments. I think you can get them for about $5 for a 24 pack.  I used some inexpensive Apple Barrel paint that we already had and I painted the kid’s fingertip with white paint and pressed it onto the ornament to make the snowman and snow.  Then I used a fine tip paint brush to add the eyes, nose, and buttons.  Once the front was dry I painted the kids’ names and the year on the back.  These are a nice keepsake gift for family and close friends. 

Teacher Tip:  When pressing the child’s finger onto the ornament have them look away at an object.  When children are watching they tend to want to press it themselves or the resist the motion, and many times you will end up with a blurry mess.

Do you have any inexpensive ornament ideas to share?

For more Christmas ideas, be sure to visit Little Fun; Little Learning.


12 Inexpensive Fall Activities for Children

November 25, 2010 by  
Filed under children, money saving tips

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.  It is cooler and nature is simply beautiful.  Take time to enjoy the season change and the gorgeous colors with your children with these inexpensive activities.

Alligator Girl enjoying an apple taste testing at school.

Make pumpkin scented playdough.  Simply use a regular playdough recipe and use orange food coloring and add a little pumpkin spice.

Look for free craft demonstrations. Check at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Michaels for free craft and kid friendly activities.

Go on a nature walk.  During autumn, there are so many changes around us.  Discuss the leaves, earth preparing for winter, or give a brief lesson on photosynthesis.  You might want to bring a bag to take some samples with you.

Make leaf rubbings from different types of leaves.  On your nature walk, you may want to take some paper and crayons with you or you can bring home your favorite leaves to use.

Make leaf people and animals. I did this with my preschool class many years ago and I wish I had an example to show you.  You select a leaf for the body and glue it to the paper.  Use your imagination to draw arms, legs, etc to make a person or animal out of your leaf.  The children thought it was quite funny.

Take a trip to a local pumpkin patch or apple orchard.  I know it’s a little late for this, but it’s something to consider for next year.  PickYourOwn.org has a list of many farms around the United States.

Make some fall themed crafts.  I have a selection of ideas at my children’s website.

Plant a tree.  Fall is also a good time to plant trees.

Play in the leaves.  My kids really enjoy this one.  They like to rake them, jump in them, throw the leaves, etc.  I was able to find some kid-size rakes for less than $3 each.

Cook together.  It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.  Enjoy decorating cupcakes with candy corn, making turkey cupcakes, bake pumpkin bread, or other pumpkin recipes.  My kids are young, but they enjoy to stand on their stepstool and help me stir things and they really enjoy decorating cupcakes.

Make a collage.  Gather up current sales flyers and old magazines.  Look for fall related items. Cut them out and glue them on paper to make a fall-themed collage. 

Make silly looking pumpkins.  Cut out a pumpkin from orange construction paper.  Search through magazines and papers for eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc.  Glue those onto the pumpkin for a funny picture.

What kinds of inexpensive activities do you enjoy with your children?


Michaels Free April Craft Events

April 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Freebies

Michael’s has some crafting opportunities scheduled in April and May. Many of these provide free family activities.

Michael’s Crop Night – Friday, April 23, 5 pm-8:45 pm. Bring your friends for scrapbooking fun. Michaels provides the space, an assortment of tools, and the clean-up. Call to reserve a space. This is an ongoing activity on the last Friday of each month.

Free Knack Family Event: Pluffy Clay Event – Make a Pluffy heart for mom on Saturday, April 24.  10 am-1 pm

Michaels also has many craft events planned for May.  Some of which include a Mother’s Day Bead Event, Mother’s Day Mug Event, Mother’s Day Corsage, Mother’s Day Clay Pot, and more.  Be sure to check out their In-Store Events page for more information.


The Gardener’s Trick to Getting Kids to Like Vegetables

April 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Gardening

Guest post by Geoffrey F. Moore
Family Fire Pits

Since it is close to spring you might be thinking about what to put in your garden. Last year my wife did an excellent job of planning out her vegetables with a sinister motive behind all of it. She loves to garden and wanted to get our two boys to be more interested in eating and enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables. The items she chose were all items that could easily be cut into a salad.

Every night she would tell our boys to go out and pick some fresh vegetables from the garden that she would then chop into a salad. The boys loved the idea of eating the veggies they had just plucked. Some of the items on the menu included carrots, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers to name a few. In addition, she also planted some of their favorite fruits such as strawberries and raspberries. They loved going to the garden to get the veggies because it also provided an opportunity to get a snack of fruits that they loved.

The plan worked and since most of the items were mixed into the salad they were not forced to eat an entire plate of one type of vegetable. With the right ratio of veggie to lettuce to dressing on the plate we were able to find success and teach our kids to like vegetables as well as learn more about gardening.

image sxc


Free Downloads from Charity & the JAMband

March 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Freebies

Your kids will dance, sing, and smile with jammin’ tunes from Charity & the JAMband. Every now and then, Charity offers a free song to download. Right now you can download Row, Row, Row Your Boat. There are also printables for the song such as lyrics, a crossword puzzle, and a coloring page.

Charity also allows you to download all of the previous free song offers.  There are currently 11 songs two songs that you can download for free. 

Enjoy the free music!  🙂