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The Gingerbread Man

I have to admit. I did not know how many different version of The Gingerbread Man there were until I became a teacher! The gingerbread man is a great one to incorporate into your teaching during the month of December! I thought it would fun to put together a post with all things gingerbread man! 

This post does contain affiliate links.

First of all, here are a few of my favorite versions of the story. 

Writing activities that encourage creativity are my favorite. I love when kids can be silly and creative when they practice writing instead of focusing on being "right." The story line in most of the the stories is the same: the gingerbread character is trying to get away and not be eaten! Students will love helping the gingerbread man get away by suggesting something else for the characters to eat instead. A few different writing versions are included making this activity appropriate for K-2. The craft is super simple and easy to prep! 

The gingerbread man is also great for prepositions and positional word vocabulary! Here is a favorite activity that incorporates technology:

1. Print these FREE gingerbread preposition cards.
2. Students will color their gingerbread person and take a picture of it somewhere in the classroom on their device. 
3. Students will add a sentence using a prepositional phrase to tell where the gingerbread boy or girl is. 
4. Print the pictures and create a class book!

A coworker shared this easy gingerbread ornament recipe with me a few years ago and it's a keeper! They smell amazing and the smell lasts for years! I have one from at least 7 years ago and it still smells so yummy!

1. Mix equal part of cinnamon and applesauce. Maybe start with a cup or so of each. 
2. Squeeze in some Elmer's glue until you get a dough consistency. 
3. Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make ornament shapes. You'll need this one of course!  Don't forget to shape a hole for the ornament holder. 
4. These take A LONG time to dry! I usually let them air dry over a weekend and flip them over to help dry both sides. I bet they could go in the oven on low too!
5. They can be decorated with puffy paints, but I think they look nice just simple! Add some holiday string and hang on a tree! 

Good luck catching that gingerbread man this season! Prefer reindeer

Christmas Family Countdown

I'm over the moon about this Christmas. It's my first one as a mom and I can't wait to do all the things. Even though EK is a baby, I wanted to plan a special holiday activity for our family each day leading up to Christmas. This might sound like a lot of extra stress and work, but it really wasn't! Let me walk you through our countdown set up! 

First I typed out each day in December like this: (You can copy and paste mine from below to save yourself some time!)

December 1:
December 2: 
December 3:
December 4:
December 5: 
December 6: 
December 7: 
December 8: 
December 9:
December 10: 
December 11: 
December 12:
December 13: 
December 14: 
December 15: 
December 16: 
December 17: 
December 18: 
December 19: 
December 20: 
December 21: 
December 22: 
December 23: 

December 24: 

Then I put in all of our already planned events such as family Christmases or church activities on their set date. If we had a planned activity already, then that would be our special Christmas activity for that day too. For example, our church does a special Christmas music service one Sunday, so I typed "Enjoy special holiday music at church" for that day. Done!

Then I thought about what things we would already be doing the month of December such as visiting Santa and the going to Dallas Arboretum.I looked at the calendar and went ahead and planned what days we would do those events. I'm so glad to have these things already on the calendar, so we don't get too busy and forget about something that we really wanted to do. 

Then I filled in the remaining days with some these family activities. I tried to choose things that were inexpensive and free. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Read the Christmas story out of the bible. 
  • Listen to Christmas music all day. 
  • Read Christmas books. You can read about our family Christmas Book Countdown
  • Stay in Christmas PJs all day.
  • Watch a Christmas movie. 
  • Look at Christmas lights, walk or drive!
  • Play with a nativity scene. This will be EK's Happy December Gift. A Happy December Gift is a little gift that you can give on December 1 to be enjoyed all season. It can be a book, a holiday movie or a toy, etc. This would be a great Happy December Gift for a little one too! We already have it at our house! 
  • Make and decorate Christmas cookies. 
  • Wrap presents. 
  • Shop for the angel tree. 
  • Eat a candy cane. (EK can have a little lick!)
  • Drink hot chocolate. 
  • Wear Santa hats. 
  • Make a family ornament. 
  • Color a page in a holiday coloring book.
  • Sit by the fire. 
  • Visit a Christmas tree farm. 
  • Play BINGO with friends. 
  • Buy coffee for the car behind you. 
  • Decorate a tree in your neighborhood.
  • Make a Santa pancakes or another special 
  • Look at the Christmas tree in your town. 

After all of the activities are planned you need to put them in an advent calendar of some sort! I was feeling crafty and bought a make your own felt kit from Michael's.  I enjoy doing things like this, so it was fun for me! If you don't enjoy stuff like that, buy one! This is a great one for littles! Or you can even just print out your family activities on red or green paper and tape them on the refrigerator. It's not about creating more work and things to do. It's about slowing down and taking time to make memories and traditions with your family. 

Happy Holidays!

Happy December Gifts

Are you wondering what a Happy December Gift is? In all honesty, I just made it up! It's just a little gift to give someone on December 1 that they can enjoy all month. Back in the dark ages Dillards use to have a Christmas Collection CD that they would put out every year. It was just a CD with lots of holiday songs by popular artists that you probably got for free or super cheap with a purchase. One year my mom gave it to me at the beginning of the holiday season and I would listen to it on the CD player in my room EVERY NIGHT. I have happy memories of jamming out to it the whole month of December! So I decided to make giving a little gift like that to EK a tradition! It's sort of like the things you want to give your kids that you can't give your kids for Christmas because Christmas will already be over. 

The best part about a Happy December Gift is that you don't even have to spend any money! Download a new movie on a streaming service you have or make a new playlist for your child to enjoy. It's just something special and new to enjoy for the month. Here are a few ideas if you want to do a little something:

1. This plastic tree is so much fun! EK really enjoys rolling thriw the plastic ornament balls in comes with on the ground. I was worried about storing this, but all of the pieces come apart and easily fit back into the box. It will be to bring out every Christmas for years to come. A lot of people really like felt trees too!

2. This fun book was given to us by a precious friend from church. It plays ten Christmas songs and the lyrics to sing along are printed in the book. It's a great one! Books are always amazing gifts. You can read about our Christmas Book Countdown HERE. 

3. This nativity set is one of my absolute favorite toys. I think the Fisher Price Little People toys are great quality and I love how they encourage imaginative play! EK really likes to chew on the sweet baby Jesus. I also saw this fun nativity finger puppets, but I haven't personally seen the set to recommend it to you! 

4. The Bullseye Playground had some super cute holiday slipper socks for kids this year. I'm sorry, I can't find a link to share! But, they were all way too big for kids under 2 or 3. These are fun options if you have a baby under 2! 
A dancing plush is always a win, but it could also make you crazy...

5. I actually just got a new coloring book for myself to enjoy this season! This one is for toddlers (big pictures and thick lines)! Any of the dollar stores or Target will have lots of coloring books too! 

6. dancing plush is always a win, but it could also make you crazy...

Other Ideas:

  • An elf on the shelf 
  • Christmas stickers
  • Christmas stationary or cards to write on
  • Ornament making kits
  • A holiday outfit 
  • A holiday movie
  • Fun holiday glasses or headband

Happy December! Already gift shopping? 

Baby's First Christmas Gift Guide

The holidays are here and I know that there are A LOT of gift guides out there. Since becoming a mom earlier this year I have seriously survived on other people’s recommendations; and I love sharing what has worked for us too! When you find something that your family loves, you want to tell the world! So that's exactly what this is: toys and gifts that our family loves! So thank you for being here and trusting my opinion when shopping for your sweet baby's first Christmas. It's EK's first Christmas too and it's going to be so special. 

Before we get started, I want to share another shopping secret with you. For months I had been seeing commercials for Rakuten, but I didn't have time to look into it more because #newmom. But after a friend was talking about all the money she was getting back from it, I decided to check it out. It seriously couldn't be any easier. Just go to their site and create an account. Then they have an extension that you can install on your browser and every time you go to a shopping website (Hello!) it pops up and tells you what their cash back deal is. You just click activate and shop like usual! Then you get cash back. It's seriously SO simple and takes no time! I kick myself for not doing it sooner. You can go HERE to sign up and get $10 bonus with your first $25 purchase! 

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1. I saw this toy for the first time when I met a friend with a little one for lunch and I couldn’t believe how simple, yet entertaining it was. It’s a perfect toy for car rides or church. Makes a great stocking stuffer!

2. These books are just amazing for babies! They are chew proof, rip proof, water proof...basically baby proof.  We have a few different ones, but this one is a favorite this month. I always have one in the diaper bag!

3. Every baby needs a hat like this for chilly outings. 

4. I can’t wait to give EK this doll! I searched the internet for best cloth dolls and people raved about this one. It even comes in a wee size for little ones! 

5. I can’t stand when diapers get wadded up in the diaper bag. Does that make anyone else crazy too?  This pouch keeps the diapers neat and organized. I keep about 4 diapers and a pack of wipes in it for diaper changes when we are out and about. SO much better than digging through the bag for what I need. It’s also waterproof so it can be used for a wet bag too. It comes in three unisex prints. 

6. I bought this is preparation for an airplane trip and it has been a life saver at restaurants! You can attach toys to the tethers so they can’t fall on the floor! Praise the Lord! 

7. This is the gift that I’m over the moon excited to give EK this year. I’m just picturing my husband pushing her down the sidewalk in it Christmas morning and my heart could just stinking explode. 

8. I’ve had a set of plastic balls since I taught Kindergarten and EK loves to play with them.  I chose this set becuase it comes with a carrying case! 

9. The Leapfrog magnet set has always been one of my first birthday staple gifts. I was SO EXCITED to see the updated set. I’m actually going to try and save this gift for EK’s first birthday, but no promises!

10. A dear friend gave this set of eggs to me when I was pregnant and said they were one of her boys favorite toys. I thought they were sort of strange, but she was SO RIGHT. EK loves them! I look forward to the day that she can put them back in the plastic carton herself instead of just taking them out!

11. Our library has a used book sale a few times a year and a few months ago I happened to buy a book by this author. I loved it so much that now I need them all. EK is getting a few for our collection!

12.  I happened to come across these and they are SO COOL. I haven't ever seen anything like them! I love that they stick to any surface, especially windows! 
The company as a whole has a lot of really neat and unique products! 

Happy shopping friends! 

Turkey Treat Freebie

My mom was the best and little making fun seasonal treats. She made little witch hat cookies with Hershey's kisses at Halloween, little turkeys with fudge stripe cookies at Thanksgiving and rice crispy treat nests at Easter. I have so many fun memories of bringing these special treats to holiday parties and showing them off in my school lunch. This was all way before Pinterest too! Shout out to you Mom! All of the treats were yummy, but the best part was making them together. I know...awww. 

I've seen a cute turkey idea using an oatmeal cream pie pop up on Instagram this season, but I wanted to make it more hands-on! I created these black and white craft pieces for your little turkey to color and help make treats for their friends, family or classmates! This would be also fun to do with a class! 

Here are the super simple directions:

1. Just print this page. One page includes enough pieces to make two turkeys. You could also print on this for sturdier pieces.  

2. Have your child color the pieces. Younger children would probably enjoy using crayons to decorate (these large ones are great for tiny hands) and older children  might have more fun with these. A little gift tag is included if your little one will be giving their masterpiece turkey treat away.

3. Cut out all of the pieces and glue on the package of an oatmeal cream pie. I recommend using these for easy glueing! Is glueing a word? (I just looked it up... it is!) 

4. Post a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook !

Hope your littles have fun making these treats! Happy Thanksgiving!