Lights, Ornaments, Violins...Oh My!

Christmas is here and this is the first year we made handmade ornaments. It was really super easy and fun for the kids. My oldest daughter made the dough all by herself and I helped in cutting and prepping and the construction of the ornaments. She then helped with the younger two as well in creating their ornaments. It was a lot of fun but also a lot of work! We created so many. I'm only to to share a portion of what we did.

First off, I have to show off the tree this year. It's not as glamorous as it has been in the past. Now with the little ones getting more into things, they sure were having fun rearranging the ornaments and decorations we put up.

But none the less, it was a sweet little tree that they loved looking at and watching the lights.

This was also the first year I've been able to find and put up all three of their "First Christmas" ornaments, which I was really excited about. But scared at the same time since the little ones sure loved to mess with them. But so far, nothing has broken this year and I'm really happy about that.

It's a tradition that the children are not allowed to help decorate the tree nor help set it up. But after I was finished, I did allow them to put one ornament on each and some candy canes. They had so much fun doing that.

I took these photos with my new tablet. It surely isn't the greatest tablet for taking photos but I tried. I think I will be using my other camera device from now on mostly. But as you can see, the kids were all excited about the tree and getting all into the holiday spirit.

We made friends and family ornaments as I stated above. The ornaments are really simple to make. As I stated, it was so easy, my nine year old did this completely by herself. You just need:

1 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Cornstarch
3/4 cup Warm Water

Mix all together in a pan on medium heat on the stove. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to form a "dough" substance. Remove from heat and let sit, stirring occasionally so it doesn't harden. Once the dough is cool enough to touch, remove it and place on parchment paper and start rolling out.

You can then either let it air dry or bake it in the oven. I did both. I let it air dry for a couple of hours and then placed it in the oven for 30 mins at 200 degrees. Then flipped them over and baked for another 30 mins. I then kept going back and forth with the process until they were hard and ready to paint.

Big sister is helping little sister roll out the dough to make our ornaments. Little brother really didn't care to be apart of it, but he did like making his in the end.

So here is what we created. I think they turned out pretty cute for our first attempt at these:

We made these snowmen first. Natalya cut out all the circles and molded the noses. After they were baked, we painted them with glitter and modge podge to give a "snowy" effect. She then painted on their faces and buttons and painted the noses orange. I then went ahead and strung the ribbon through each section and hot glued on the scarfs. We then wrote her name, age and year on the back and said it was made with love.

The Santa faces are both Reggie's and Larissa's hand prints since they have little hands, I thought this would be perfect, I just pressed their hands into the dough, one at a time. I cut out the shape around the dough with a knife and after they were baked, Natalya painted in the santa hats and I outlined the areas in black marker and added the faces.

We then wrote their names and ages on the back along with the year. I then tied a pretty red ribbon so we could hang them up.

I created this first one for my parents. It's all three of the children's handprints in one. It was a bit harder than I thought because Reggie and Larissa both are almost the same size and so is their hand. So it was a challenge trying to get theirs to show as separate. But I managed. I then painted each child's hand a different color so you could clearly see who's hand was who's. I then wrote their names, ages and date on the back.

The Ninja Turtle ones, Natalya made completely all by herself. I am so proud of her that she freehand painted these without asking me for any help. The only thing I did was hot glue the google eyes on them and tie the string through. She did a great job on these.

And finally we have the reindeer. Now these aren't ornaments exactly. We turned them into Christmas magnets. Which turned out totally cute. We also used a cinnamon salt dough recipe for these instead of the one I listed above we used on all the rest.

This way we did not have to do any painting. The reindeer were brown from the cinnamon and also smell lovely. I hot glued the google eyes on them. We found twigs from outside and glued those on as the antlers as well and then Natalya hot glued on the puff ball noses. I then attached the magnets on the back...and tada! Reindeer magnets for all year round on your fridge. So cute. I used ours to hang up our Christmas card.

They look adorable hanging from the tree. I was worried they would be too heavy but they aren't at all which is great!

Another exciting thing that happened was Natalya performed in her very first violin Christmas concert. As a mom, I teared up during the performance. I have no idea why I do this, but I do... what can I say? I'm such an emotional train wreck. Especially when it comes to my children's accomplishments.

She performed with all the students her teacher teaches at a retirement community here in town. She is the one in the black dress I keep zooming in on :)

The concert was an hour long but I cut down the video and only included the pieces she performed in. Being that she has only been playing for six months, she hasn't learned yet all the pieces. But she amazed me by learning as much as she has. The video is uploaded below.

And of course, Christmas wouldn't be complete without Christmas lights. We ventured over to one of the famous houses close by known for their lights. It was our first time going. I was really glad to see it was only 4 minutes from our house so it made it easy to get home with cranky little ones in the back seat.

This house is known as the "Candy Cane Crib" ... they even have their own Facebook page! This house was really cool in person. It has over 30,000 lights {making me immediately think of Clark Griswold} .... but they sure know how to rock out in the Christmas spirit.

When we went, there were a lot of people. It was crowded and hard to find a parking spot along the side of the street. But we did and I managed to take a few snap shots without too many people in the way.

I hope you all had a very merry happy holidays and I wish you all a bright and safe new year! And if you haven't checked out our Christmas cards from this year, head on over to do that. Leave me a link to yours as well if you posted about yours.