Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pollyanna 2016

My husband's family holds an annual Pollyanna party each December in which my in-laws and his sisters and brother-in-laws exchange gifts.  Everyone who is able to attend in the family (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc) loves the good food and the good company.  This year was no exception to the excitement and fun we all shared together as an extended family.


This year my Aunt prepared various appetizers and asked the family to bring either an appetizer to share or a dessert.

My husband and I decided to bring something kid friendly (and it turned out to be a hit with the grownups, too).

We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches using four different types of jellies and jams.
Before adding the jelly and peanut butter we cut some of them into holiday shapes using cookies cutters.  (Any of the left over pieces of bread were saved so we could take a trip to the park and feed the ducks.  You could also use them in various baking recipes as well.)

We also prepared some applesauce and fruit cup containers to look festive. 

The fruit cups we turned into Santa using a black permanent marker, a gold metallic marker, and some black construction paper and glue.  My son helped me but the belts onto the fruit cups. 

And we made reindeer out of the applesauce cups.  We glued on eyes, a nose, and taped on pipe cleaners for antlers.  We gave one a bow to be Clarice from the Rudolph television story. 

There was also a Joyous veggie tray. 

My aunt prepared a meatball buffet (which included four different kinds of meatballs and sauces which included marinara, Swedish, buffalo, and sweet & sour.

She also had a pierogi and kielbasa casserole and a Rustica Meat and cheese platter. 

Another Aunt prepared a Pea Soup as well as bacon-wrapped sausages. 


My aunt had different candies in beautiful jars on display (and for snacking).  We also had cakes and cookies for dessert baked and brought by aunts and a cousin.


My uncle has several trains set up (around the Christmas tree upstairs) as well as several downstairs. My son was thrilled with them last year and even more so this year because he was allowed to blow the whistle for the train.

Gift Wrapping 

We wrapped two 'willing' teens for fun as well.  My step-son was wrapped by cousins and his grandparents while his cousin was wrapped by other family members.  Both were very nice to put up with our family's silly ideas of fun.

Crazy Sock Exchange 

As a family, the adults participated in a sock exchange.  Each person who wanted to participate brought a pair of socks and filled them with various items (such as candy, gift cards, pens, etc).  Then we all picked out a pair of socks.  

After the exchange we tried on our new crazy socks!

Here are some ideas for your Holiday Party

Stockpiling Moms Christmas Sock Exchange 
Purex Sock Exchange Ideas 
Crafty Morning Reindeer Applesauce 
The Nerd's Wife 50 Winter Holiday Class Party Ideas 
Mil Dicas de Mae Santa's Fruit Cups 
Tiny Prints Christmas Party Games 
Women's Ministry Toolbox Christmas: Wrap It up Game 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Snowmen Milk Containers


  • milk container (plastic gallon or half gallon) 
  • craft foam 
  • scissors 
  • glue (I prefer to use a 'tacky' glue) 
  • lights (optional) 

1. Drink milk. 
2. Wash out milk container and allow to completely dry. 
3. Remove labels. (Sometimes it is easier to do this when the container is still wet.) 
4. Create a template for eyes, a nose, and a mouth.  
5. Cut pieces from foam. 
6. Attach to milk container. 

7. Cut out small hole on back near bottom for lights. 

8. String lights inside the snowman.

(Be careful about leaving lights on inside your snowman to prevent any fires.) 

I made a few pieces to create a Frosty the Snowman and Mrs. Frosty for our front step.

To keep them in place, you could place rocks inside of them or tie them down.  I tied our three to the railing. 

We haven't used any of the craft items listed below.  (affiliate links) 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Snowflake Sun Catchers



1. Gather materials.
2. Children draw on the coffee filters using markers.

3. Spray the coffee filters with water.
4. Allow to dry.

5. Cut out patterns to create snowflakes.

6. Laminate snowflake sun catchers. (optional)
7. Hang in windows.

I love how simple this craft is but that it also creates something beautiful to hang in the window all winter long.

My daughter tried out each marker on her hands prior to using it to color the coffee filter.

My son and daughter had already done a similar craft with coffee filters for Halloween, so they got right down to the business of drawing.

I drew a tree on one for my son to decorate and we talked about ornaments, garland, and what to put on top of the tree.

Older children can cut out the snowflake designs themselves. It's Always Autumn has a free video and templates helping you and your children cut out interesting snowflake patterns.

This is the laminator that we own.

Here a few cute snowflake pattern books.  Personally, we haven't tried any of these books.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ornaments


  • Toilet Paper Rolls (2 needed for one set of ornaments) 
  • Green Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Googly Eyes
  • Materials for masks (tissue paper, felt, construction paper, ribbon) 
  • Glue 
  • Ribbon (for hanging) 
  • Hole Punch


1. Gather materials.
2. Paint toilet paper rolls (inside and outside).

3. After they dry, cut in half.

4. Cut material for masks.
5. Glue masks onto toilet paper rolls.

6. Glue googly eyes onto masks.

7. Punch holes in top of toilet paper rolls.

8. Cut and then tie ribbon for hanging through holes.

9. Hang on tree.

My husband was a fan of the cartoon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle so when I saw Happy Hooligan's craft, I knew it would be perfect for my son to make for him.  As we were already painting some toilet paper rolls green for trees, this was a breeze to add a few more to be painted.

There are lots of different Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ornament crafts to make for your tree.  Check out these three different options.

Personally, I have seen a few minutes of the original series but haven't really watched any of the sequels or reboots. There is a huge selection on Amazon of DVDs as well as toys.  (affiliate links)