A Royal 5th Cinderella Inspired Birthday

I cried my eyes out, off and on, for months beforehand.  At the end of October, Holiday hit the BIG 05.  There's something about hitting 5 that's official "Big Girl Territory" in my mind!  Last February, we finally took our first trip to Walt Disney World.  It was every bit as magical as I had hoped and upon our return, Holiday declared she wanted a Walt Disney World themed party.  Of course my mind always thinks as big as possible and about how many elements from Disney I could fit from my front door to the recesses of my back yard fence.  Over the months, she started to narrow it down to Disney World, but mostly princesses, but as the time started to roll around to pick things out for her party, she kept picking Cinderella everything, so I just rolled with it!  

This is the first year I planned the party to take place all inside my home.  I just had a strong feeling that I needed to do that and I'm SO glad I listened.  We had torrential downpours for days leading up to, during and after her party.  Because I moved it indoors, we had to cut the guest list back significantly (so sorry friends, we still love you ALL!)  We have a nice sized home, but not enough room for 60 or 70ish people all indoors.

I did something for this party that I normally never do and focused all of my decor into one area.  We emptied out all of the furniture from our Formal Dining Room and my husband's office into our Master Bedroom and Guest room, and transformed those spaces into a Ballroom and our very own Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!  I've always known (and even blogged about) how much more "Wow factor" you can achieve focusing on one area, but now that I did it this way once, I will definitely do it this way moving forward.  For parties I've done in the past, I will generally start my decor on my front porch and carry it all the way through to my back yard.  It's cohesive and adds nice details, but the decor budget is spread out evenly.  Putting it all in one spot was really magical.  It transformed the space and really made you feel like you were somewhere special!  

Side note:  I don't know what I was thinking, but this is the first year I didn't have a professional photographer at the party.  I took on so much with all of the details, I didn't even get to take more than a few pictures myself-- HUGE REGRET.  WILL NEVER MAKE THIS MISTAKE AGAIN!  Thankful for sweet friends who sent me many cell phone pics they snapped.  

Of course a royal party requires royal invitations!  I was so close to ordering some from Etsy, but SO GLAD I took the time and designed and made them myself.  I promise to come back very soon with a tutorial of how I did these! 


 I ended up with the wrong size mailing tubes, but had to make them work or the invites would have gotten in the mail SUPER past the "Guest should have them in their hands 3 weeks beforehand," timeframe! 

I ended up with the wrong size mailing tubes, but had to make them work or the invites would have gotten in the mail SUPER past the "Guest should have them in their hands 3 weeks beforehand," timeframe! 

 Party set-up selfie somewhere between midnight and 3am in the wee early morning hours of party day.  I just need everyone to let me by myself so I can play around with my decor.  The big things are always hammered out way in advance, but it's the little details that just take time alone for the creativity to start flowing! 

Party set-up selfie somewhere between midnight and 3am in the wee early morning hours of party day.  I just need everyone to let me by myself so I can play around with my decor.  The big things are always hammered out way in advance, but it's the little details that just take time alone for the creativity to start flowing! 

 Our Royal Ballroom.  I pulled out our Dining Room furniture and replaced it with two 6 foot folding tables and folding chairs all draped in beautiful linens!  The gold chargers were one of my favorite things I added.  They're easy to find for around $2ea and I think they really made a huge impact! 

Our Royal Ballroom.  I pulled out our Dining Room furniture and replaced it with two 6 foot folding tables and folding chairs all draped in beautiful linens!  The gold chargers were one of my favorite things I added.  They're easy to find for around $2ea and I think they really made a huge impact! 

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 Another view of the Dining Room.  The carriage photo prop is from Stumps (the prom decor place) I also had my banners printed from them too-- they are really nice quality, will definitely order again!  Their products MADE the party! The little swag under the Cinderella silhouette was a last minute addition.  I kept feeling like the space needed something and then remembered that blue shimmery fabric I had in my buffet from last year's  Polar Bear Play Date! 

Another view of the Dining Room.  The carriage photo prop is from Stumps (the prom decor place) I also had my banners printed from them too-- they are really nice quality, will definitely order again!  Their products MADE the party! The little swag under the Cinderella silhouette was a last minute addition.  I kept feeling like the space needed something and then remembered that blue shimmery fabric I had in my buffet from last year's Polar Bear Play Date! 

 The girls were just starting to get seated for lunch while our Royal Visitors, Princesses Rapunzel and Cinderella entertained them with songs, stories and games.  If you're in the Dallas Fort Worth area, I booked these ladies through  Royally Fun Parties  and they were AMAZING!!!!  I cannot say enough good things.  They seriously jumped right in and helped with games, crafts, helped the girls get lunch and were like having two extra hostesses at the party.  Best of all they had beautiful voices and the girls were SO entertained!  It was seriously magical! 

The girls were just starting to get seated for lunch while our Royal Visitors, Princesses Rapunzel and Cinderella entertained them with songs, stories and games.  If you're in the Dallas Fort Worth area, I booked these ladies through Royally Fun Parties and they were AMAZING!!!!  I cannot say enough good things.  They seriously jumped right in and helped with games, crafts, helped the girls get lunch and were like having two extra hostesses at the party.  Best of all they had beautiful voices and the girls were SO entertained!  It was seriously magical! 

 Cake and cupcakes by my dear friend, Mary Holmen, from It's A Mary Cake!  She has done every special cake for me starting with my bridal shower, wedding, and everything since!  If you live in DFW, find It's A Mary Cake on Facebook! 

Cake and cupcakes by my dear friend, Mary Holmen, from It's A Mary Cake!  She has done every special cake for me starting with my bridal shower, wedding, and everything since!  If you live in DFW, find It's A Mary Cake on Facebook! 

 I found the little gold frames in the dollar aisle at Michael's and made my own "Have courage and Be Kind" graphic!  They were also at each place setting as one of the (many) favors the girls got to take home (I love favors)! 

I found the little gold frames in the dollar aisle at Michael's and made my own "Have courage and Be Kind" graphic!  They were also at each place setting as one of the (many) favors the girls got to take home (I love favors)! 

 This may have been the only Disney (non princess) element that actually made it into the party! 

This may have been the only Disney (non princess) element that actually made it into the party! 

 These #5 Fairy Wand Cookies were at each place setting for the girls to take, also made by It's A Mary Cake! 

These #5 Fairy Wand Cookies were at each place setting for the girls to take, also made by It's A Mary Cake! 

 One of the very few pictures I snapped myself before the punch was in the bowl!  The little plastic cups are from Pottery Barn Kids and I added the Cinderella slipper "body stickers" to them (From Party City).  I also designed the water bottle labels and just printed them on my printer, cut down and covered with heavy duty packing tape!  

One of the very few pictures I snapped myself before the punch was in the bowl!  The little plastic cups are from Pottery Barn Kids and I added the Cinderella slipper "body stickers" to them (From Party City).  I also designed the water bottle labels and just printed them on my printer, cut down and covered with heavy duty packing tape!  

 Note to self, delete black border around labels before printing next time! 

Note to self, delete black border around labels before printing next time! 

 My husband's office, mostly emptied out and turned into Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!  We had a manicure/ nail painting station, makeup station and hair station.  The girls also all got to pick out one of the princess body stickers (from Party City and super cute!).  They all got to pick out crowns or tiaras, tutus and I had the most adorable handheld mirrors for them all in addition to bracelets, necklaces and rings! This space is right beside our ballroom, so it flowed really well together! 

My husband's office, mostly emptied out and turned into Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!  We had a manicure/ nail painting station, makeup station and hair station.  The girls also all got to pick out one of the princess body stickers (from Party City and super cute!).  They all got to pick out crowns or tiaras, tutus and I had the most adorable handheld mirrors for them all in addition to bracelets, necklaces and rings! This space is right beside our ballroom, so it flowed really well together! 

 I feel like so many "Pins" and party blogs only show up-close details.  I'm always interested in the flow of a party, so here's an aerial shot (from my upstairs catwalk) that a sweet friend captured!  When you come in the front door, the opening immediately to the right is where the office (aka Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique) is! 

I feel like so many "Pins" and party blogs only show up-close details.  I'm always interested in the flow of a party, so here's an aerial shot (from my upstairs catwalk) that a sweet friend captured!  When you come in the front door, the opening immediately to the right is where the office (aka Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique) is! 

 I SO wanted the girls to have their own little buffet set-up in the "Ballroom," but I just couldn't fit it all in there!  I kept it pretty simple with Croissants, Sonoma Chicken Salad, Turkey and Cheese Tiara Cut-Out Sandwiches, PB&J Fairy Wand Sandwiches, "Carriage Wheels" Rollups, Jaq and Gus Cheese Tray & Berry Yogurt Parfaits.  I gave them all cute, princessy names and made little buffet cards for each.

I SO wanted the girls to have their own little buffet set-up in the "Ballroom," but I just couldn't fit it all in there!  I kept it pretty simple with Croissants, Sonoma Chicken Salad, Turkey and Cheese Tiara Cut-Out Sandwiches, PB&J Fairy Wand Sandwiches, "Carriage Wheels" Rollups, Jaq and Gus Cheese Tray & Berry Yogurt Parfaits.  I gave them all cute, princessy names and made little buffet cards for each.

 This was one of my favorite elements!  I noticed after the party that my Father carefully pinned a cheese cube to Gus Gus' mouth!!!! 

This was one of my favorite elements!  I noticed after the party that my Father carefully pinned a cheese cube to Gus Gus' mouth!!!! 

 Another little dessert spread in the living room.  In retrospect, this whole set-up was probably unnecessary but the Cinderella Trail Mix (inside the pumpkin) was a pretty big hit, as were the cream puffs in the silver bowl!!! 

Another little dessert spread in the living room.  In retrospect, this whole set-up was probably unnecessary but the Cinderella Trail Mix (inside the pumpkin) was a pretty big hit, as were the cream puffs in the silver bowl!!! 

 In spite or the nonstop downpours, we did a little craft project on the covered back patio that the girls got to take home!  We made Christmas Palace Pets Christmas ornaments!  Tutorial coming ASAP! 

In spite or the nonstop downpours, we did a little craft project on the covered back patio that the girls got to take home!  We made Christmas Palace Pets Christmas ornaments!  Tutorial coming ASAP! 

 Adorable Palace Pet ornament! 

Adorable Palace Pet ornament! 

 Holiday Rapunzel behind the photo prop carriage!  (I need to give a shout-out to my husband (David. I had planned for the carriage being in a different spot, but it ended up being bigger (than my measurements.  It was his idea to move it here in the Dining Room and it was definitely (the focal point of the whole party and a huge source of "Wow!") 

Holiday Rapunzel behind the photo prop carriage!  (I need to give a shout-out to my husband (David. I had planned for the carriage being in a different spot, but it ended up being bigger (than my measurements.  It was his idea to move it here in the Dining Room and it was definitely (the focal point of the whole party and a huge source of "Wow!") 

 Holiday's adorable Rapunzel dress-up apron, Rapunzel hair (pictured above) and matching American Girl Doll outfit were all made by the very talented Jennifer Bayliss at  Ross and Rosie Designs !!! 

Holiday's adorable Rapunzel dress-up apron, Rapunzel hair (pictured above) and matching American Girl Doll outfit were all made by the very talented Jennifer Bayliss at Ross and Rosie Designs!!! 

 Amazing hair (it's made out of yarn and has a stretch for a perfect, comfortable fit), Rapunzel apron and matching doll apron by  Ross and Rosie Designs ! 

Amazing hair (it's made out of yarn and has a stretch for a perfect, comfortable fit), Rapunzel apron and matching doll apron by Ross and Rosie Designs

 The ceiling was supposed to be covered in helium balloons, but the AC vents kept blowing them into opposite corners!  I didn't have this issue last time I did the same thing in this space!  Also wanted y'all to be able to see the pretty decor that went all the way up the staircase! 

The ceiling was supposed to be covered in helium balloons, but the AC vents kept blowing them into opposite corners!  I didn't have this issue last time I did the same thing in this space!  Also wanted y'all to be able to see the pretty decor that went all the way up the staircase! 

 More princess fun! 

More princess fun! 

 From  Royally Fun Parties  they were amazing!!!! 

From Royally Fun Parties they were amazing!!!! 

 Lots of play time afterwards!  Holiday and her sweet friend Alyssa 

Lots of play time afterwards!  Holiday and her sweet friend Alyssa 

 Favorite Party Present (Thanks Cara, Jeff, Sophie and Sam!) 

Favorite Party Present (Thanks Cara, Jeff, Sophie and Sam!) 

Thank you all for stopping by!  Be looking for the invitation and ornament tutorials on the blog soon!  

I Love To Grow With You Valentine!

If you've followed me for any length of time, you've heard me rant on about my love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  As a creative person, one thing I love about Pinterest is that it's constantly challenging and stretching me to come up with new ideas not already contained within its easily searchable boards and pins.  There are plenty of ideas I find and copy, but I love the challenge of making myself think about the next idea.  Cue Valentine's Day!  

I already had it on my radar that I wanted to come up with something new and unique. Classroom valentines are a little bit challenging because-- if your child's classroom is anything like mine-- not only will your child be bringing home enough candy to rival any Halloween stash, you're likely trying to work around umpteen food allergies.  

And then I saw these... 

Paper Source is just one of those stores that inspires me ALL the time.  

So obviously I wanted to do a take home, planter type of a valentine featuring these adorable plantable seeds.  I think you could make this Valentine a simple one (and less expensive), or take it to the next level and provide everything someone would need to plant these at home! 

These seeds were $8.95/ bag at Paper Source.  In each of my little cello bags, I placed 6 seeds-- 2 of each color (red, pink, white).  One bag of plantable seeds was enough to make 17 mini cello bags of hearts. 

I rolled down the top of the mini 6x4 cello bags twice and secured with heart stickers, also purchased at Paper Source.

Next I took a slightly larger cello treat bag, filled with a heaping scoop of potting soil and secured (tightly) with ribbon.  I purposely tied these as tight as possible, so none of the 3 and 4 year olds in Holiday's class would be able to dump this on themselves or in the car on the way home from school! 

Now I needed the perfect, portable, non breakable flower pots to put them in.  I found just what I was looking for at IKEA for $.99 each!  

I wanted to make sure these little Valentine gifts were fully functional, so I knew it needed a liner on the inside that would allow the soil to drain and the flowers to grow!  I found this pack of 30 four inch pots on Amazon for $6.77 and they fit the IKEA pots perfectly! The IKEA pots say that they have a partially drilled drainage hole in the bottom that you can tap through easily with a screw drive.  However, they would create a need for a tray or something underneath to catch excess water, so this liner seemed like a really good solution.

Of course I wanted to include a Valentine card for the inside that had all of the instructions and a place for Holiday to sign her name.  

I had a few ideas on how to make the packaging more elaborate, but this will be the most simple way for Holiday's preschool classmates to take them home.  To include all of these pieces, these ended up being around $1.50 each to make.  I always have a huge stash of cello bags so I didn't need to buy those or any paper/ ink for my printer.  

Now if you didn't want to go all out, or if your class only allows cards, You could definitely do the cards with just the little cello seed bags attached.  Still super cute and creative!  A child could easily plant these at home in a styrofoam cup! 

I attached them together with a mini pink clothes pin (available at any craft store, especially in the baby part supply aisle), but you could do heart safety pins or even staple them if you wanted to. 

LINKS TO PURCHASE THE SUPPLIES:

 

Paper Source Plantable Heart Seeds 

Paper Source Heart Stickers

IKEA Socker Planters 

4 Inch Drainable Flower Pot Liners

6 inch x 4 inch mini cellophane bags 

6 inch x 8 inch cellophane bags for potting soil

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Pizzelles

 I was recently asked by Dominique of Gusto and Grace to participate in an Online Cookie Swap for the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies!  Today I'll be covering the traditional Italian Pizzelle, but be sure to check in with these other great bloggers for their recipes and great content too! 

When I think back to Christmas Past and baking, I am immediately transported back to my Grandma Joyce's kitchen in the tiny little town of Garmantown in western Pennsylvania.  This region of the country is known for their specialty cookies.  Not just your run of the mill chocolate chip, but fancy and special cookies always abounded and especially so at Christmas time.  My grandmother's table would be filled with nut horns, lady fingers, Italian wedding cookies and at least three variations of Pizzelles!  Western Pennsylvania is, after all, the Great Keepers of the Cookie Table Tradition.  You can read all about that awesomeness here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/dining/16cookies.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Now back to the Pizzelles!  Pizzelles are pretty and fancy, but SO easy to make.  And in keeping with the theme of my blog, they are a perfect simple cookie for your little ones to help with.  I should also mention that it doesn't hurt that they're only about 30 calories each making them the guilt free Christmas cookie option! 

In order to make Pizzelles, you will need a Pizzelle Press.  BUT once you see how simple, fancy and tasty these cookies are, you'll want to buy one of your own!  This is the Pizzelle Press I have:  

 Cuisinart WM-PZ2 Pizzelle Press 

Cuisinart WM-PZ2 Pizzelle Press 

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Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 Cup white sugar
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:  

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick
  2. Stir in melted butter and vanilla 
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then combine with batter until smooth
  4. Preheat your Pizzelle Press and brush with oil if not using a press with nonstick plates.  If you're using the Cuisinart Pizzelle Press listed above, I usually keep my setting around 3.5-4.  With the size of the wells, you need an exact single Tablespoon for each cookie.  You may have to experiment with heat settings and amount of batter depending on which kind of press you are using.  If your press does not have an indicator light to tell you when each cookie is finished, wait for the iron to stop steaming (approximately 20-45 seconds) before removing.
  5. After you remove the Pizzelle, place on a flat surface to cool completely.  Avoid stacking until cool to prevent them from curling.  

Variations:  

  1. For Chocolate Pizzelles:  Add 1/2 Cup cocoa sifted together with the flour and baking powder, 1/4 Cup more sugar and 1/4 teaspoon more baking powder.  
  2. For traditional Anise flavored Pizzelles, replace vanilla extract in original recipe with Anise extract instead 
  3. Pizzelles make great "ends" for ice cream sandwiches or roll them while warm for Cannoli shells!
 My baking buddy, Holiday Jane, carefully watching for the Pizzelle Press indicator light to turn green! 

My baking buddy, Holiday Jane, carefully watching for the Pizzelle Press indicator light to turn green! 

 Pizzelles are a perfect cookie for everyone! 

Pizzelles are a perfect cookie for everyone! 

Project Advent Week ONE

As promised, I wanted to give you a run down of all of the Advent activities we've done for week one!  I've been so stoked to see lots of friends posting about trying out the Snow Dough recipe-- I know it was a huge hit at our house.  That's only the start, we have quite a few other projects we tested out this week and every one was a definite winner-- I'm so excited to share them with you!  

Just a recap- in previous years I've always done a little gift each day of December leading up to Christmas and this year I wanted to focus on spending time with my daughter and doing projects together since projects are one of the main highlights of her life at this point it time!  You can read all about it the previous blog, Project Advent.  So each day instead of putting a gift in the pocket of our Advent calendar, I've been placing a note with a little poem about our project of the Day. 

Advent Day 1:  The first gift of December-- oh what could it be?  The first gift of December is waiting for you under the tree!

We were just starting and I had just had the idea of doing projects instead of gifts, so I gave her a gift I had already purchased, a snowman and sled just the right size for her dolls, and we played together with it for a very long time!  She called this Mistletoe Mountain and for those of you who watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as much as we do, that will be quite familiar!  

Project Advent Day 1.jpg

Advent Day 2:  For a very special princess who is strong and brave and true-- some wintry fun for Advent Day #2!

Day #2 we tried our hand at Snow Painting.  This was so much fun, I can hardly wait to try it out again.  I refrigerated Elmer's School Glue and a can of shaving cream over night to make them extra cold and "snow like".  Just before we were ready to paint, I pulled them out and mixed equal parts together in a bowl.  I let Holiday add silvery glitter (iridescent would work better, but silver is what we had on hand) and faux snow as well.  

 

Snow Painting.jpg
Snow Painting.2.jpg
 She said she was painting herself into a snowy elf! Fortunately all of the ingredients are very washable, so I wasn't concerned about the mess! 

She said she was painting herself into a snowy elf! Fortunately all of the ingredients are very washable, so I wasn't concerned about the mess! 

 Closeup of how the glitter looks in the paint! 

Closeup of how the glitter looks in the paint! 

 Dry snowman!  The "paint" dries puffy-- very cool effect! 

Dry snowman!  The "paint" dries puffy-- very cool effect! 

Snow Painting 7.jpg
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Definitely a SUPER fun and easy project that I would highly recommend!

 

Advent Day 3:  What is under the tree for Advent Day #3?!  It's frosty and fun and a little chilly too... Mama is ready for playtime with you!

In addition to today's project, I also gave her a paperback copy of Frosty the Snowman which she loved!  

 

 

Frosty the Snowman
By Jack Rollins, Steve Nelson

For today's project we made Snow Dough!  One of the many recipes I've found from one of my favorite blogs, Growing a Jeweled Rose.  The recipe is very simple.  I refrigerated a large bottle of lotion overnight and put a 16 ounce container of Corn Starch in the Freezer.  Right before we were ready to play I mixed the two together and then we added glitter and a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil.  This dough was SO much fun to mix and once it got to the right consistency it really did feel like snow!  I highly recommended using unscented lotion. I was implementing my "use what you have principle" and used a bit of Snow Berry scented lotion at the end to get just the right consistency.  The scent, mixed with the peppermint wasn't ideal, but Holiday didn't seem to mind!  I ended up using around 12 ounces of lotion for the 16 ounces of corn starch.  

I have to say, the Snow Dough, even though it was only a single color, held Holiday's attention much longer than regular Playdoh.  I'm not sure if it had anything to do with it being cold or the different texture but she LOVED it!  aside from making snowmen, animals and castles-- we also flattened it and she cut out shapes with cookie cutters and also practiced writing her letters on the Snow Dough.  I put it back in the freezer to keep it nice and chilly while we ate dinner and then she wanted it back out to play with until bed time.  By that point, the consistency has started to get really crumbly so after she went to bed I threw it away.  Fortunately the ingredients were so inexpensive, it will be super easy to make again in the future (and I'm stocked up on cheap unscented lotion)!   

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Advent Day 4:  It's Advent Day #4 and today we'll learn that Christmas is so much more.  More than ornaments on the tree, more than gifts for you and me.  Today we'll discover the joy and fun of making gifts for everyone!  

I think one of my favorite aspects of Project Advent is that I've been able to take things that I would normally do with Holiday during the Christmas season and make them extra-special by fitting them into this daily format.  As you can see by this (blurry) picture the below, she has SO much excitement when she wakes up from nap time to find a new note in her tree!  

Project Advent.jpg

Ever since her first Christmas when she was just a month old, I started making hand print Christmas ornaments as gifts for both Mimi and Grammy and we always keep one for our tree too!  If you ask Holiday what her most favorite ornaments are on the tree, she will be quick to point out the hand print ones first!  

 Her hand print from right after turning one. Looking at all four hand print ornaments on the tree is quite bittersweet for this Mama! 

Her hand print from right after turning one. Looking at all four hand print ornaments on the tree is quite bittersweet for this Mama! 

So under the tree for Advent Day 4, she received packaging boxes for the three ornaments we were going to make along with a box of inexpensive Christmas cards and stickers for her to write in, decorate and mail out to family and friends!  She is really into mailing cards and writing letters, plus I knew the ornaments wouldn't take all that long so this was an extra activity and one that helped us to continue to think about others.  She was very careful to write in the cards with only the favorite color of the recipient!  

Project Advent Day 4.jpg

There are a couple of different options for making the hand print ornaments.  You can purchase a kit for $10-15, use white Crayola Model Magic or make your own Model Magic.  In case anyone isn't familiar with Model Magic, it is a lightweight pliable dough that air dries hard.  Once it's dry you can paint it or just leave it white!  If you don't purchase a kit, you will just need something to make your round shape with-- something large enough that your child's hand will fit in.  

Here is a recipe for making your own Model Magic!  http://www.southernasbiscuits.com/2011/11/homemade-model-magic.html

Once you have your dough, you will want to knead it for a good two minutes to make sure you have all of the air bubbles out, then roll it out to approximately a half inch thick.  I like to roll mine on top of wax paper.  Once you have it rolled out, you're going to need your round shape to cut your circle out with.  This 6 inch cookie cutter would work really well for this project and would probably work up to age 5 at least:  

I recommend leaving the cookie cutter in place until after you make your child's imprint, just so it keeps the shape in a nice tight circle and doesn't spread the dough too much.  Once you get a nice imprint (you can keep re-kneading and rolling out as many times as you need until you get a good print.  It gets easier the older they are) you can remove the ring.  I like to position the hand in the center and leave enough room at the top for a little hole to string your ribbon through for hanging.  Once you have the hand in place on the dough, I carefully try to push each finger and part of the hand into the dough a bit to get a good print.  Once you've removed the ring/cookie cutter,  I've found that a straw makes the perfect size hole for the ribbon! just press it once all the way through.  

At this point, you just want to let it completely dry out.  I usually leave it on the wax paper (hand print side up) for a full 24 hours and then flip and allow the backside to dry for an additional 24 hours.  Last year I added some jingle bells with the ribbon.  This year, after the ornaments were completely dry, I brushed on a light layer of glue around the front of the hand print (avoiding the actual print itself) and then sprinkled the glued areas with iridescent glitter.  Definitely had a really pretty effect!  I always write on the back of the ornament "Holiday's First Christmas 2010, two months old" or whatever is appropriate for that year.  

 The ornament on the left, I accidentally forgot and removed the cookie cutter before doing the hand print-- you can see the difference in how it makes the finished product look! 

The ornament on the left, I accidentally forgot and removed the cookie cutter before doing the hand print-- you can see the difference in how it makes the finished product look! 

 Closeup! 

Closeup! 

Advent Day 5:  Today is Advent Day #5 and though it's blustery and cold outside, we can have our snowy fun where it's nice and warm-- cozy and safe from the storm.  Head downstairs to see what you can see, a magical wonderland by the tree!  

Rice tables as sensory play are an age-old Montessori idea and I've seen many versions through the years.  I got the idea for this snowy version from Growing a Jeweled Rose and when I spotted Holiday's water table from the summer laying in the garage, I knew it would make a perfect container.  My husband even commented today that the water table as a rice table was a much better use for it and held her attention for HOURS longer than water!  It just so happens that her water table has an Arctic theme to it, so it really couldn't be more perfect.  This activity has been so great, if I didn't already have the water table, I would purchase it just for this reason!  

To make the rice shivery cold, I emptied two full size boxes into gallon size Ziploc bags and put them in the freezer overnight.  Just before we were ready to play, I dumped both bags or rice into the table and added some sparkly blue and white pompoms, sequins and some glittery snowflakes as well.  

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I pulled out several scoops, cups and shovels and we had the little animals-- polar bear, penguin and walrus that came with the table.  I placed it all on top of our oil cloth splat mat.  At night, I've been putting the table on the back porch and covering it with the splat mat to make it nice and cold for the next morning.  The cold rice is a ton of fun to play with and we've had HOURS of play in the past three days with this table!  I think this table is a big reason we have all managed to stay quite sane going on the fourth day of being iced in together with this winter storm!  

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Advent Day 6:  Today is Advent Day #6, our yard and road and town are SLICK! Even though we're stuck at home, as long as we have each other we are never alone!  Let's snuggle up and watch a movie tonight because being together sounds just right! 

For Day 6, we spent so much time playing outside that we kept the project a little more simple with a new Bubble Guppies movie:  

In addition, we also made Snow Globes out of some fun foam pieces and stickers I happened to have in my craft supply stash!  

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Advent Day 7:  There's a special gift under the tree to make something yummy for you and for me!  We'll even make some more to share to show our friends and family we care!  

For Advent Day #7 we made cut out Christmas sugar cookies.  In a gift bag under the tree, I placed all different jars of sprinkles and cookie decorations along with a Christmasy rubber spatula.   Holiday had fun helping with this, but out of all of the things we've done this week, this probably held her attention for the least amount of time!  She was way more interested in playing with her rice table!  But she does really enjoy helping in the kitchen and it was definitely time well spent together!  

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AND FOR ONE LAST BONUS ACTIVITY... the next time you need a special project to keep your little one occupied-- whether it be a snow day or a trip on a plane, these magnetic Bingo wands are AWESOME!  

They come in all different colors and are so simple yet so fun.  I think after tax and shipping it comes to $4 or $5 for one wand with 100 chips.  The first time my husband saw this activity laying out, he asked, "What's the point of this?"  To which I replied, "It gives me an hour, sometimes two to cook or clean or do whatever I need to do!"  There are lots of activities for these wands one of our favorites is using them to pick up pieces of pipe cleaner

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You can be more thematic by using red and green and other Christmasy colors for this time of year!  Here are a few other fun ideas too!  http://play-activities.com/fun-with-magnets/