Thursday, December 3, 2009

Frugal and Fun Gifts to Make with the Kids

This is the time of year when many homeschooling families gather together and prepare for the holidays, making gifts, sharing memories, and reading together. While working on my Christmas Unit Study over the years, we have done these same things at the Bennett household, and we have been blessed with some amazing memories. I'm writing today to respond to the many requests for descriptions of some of the things that we have tried, I hope that something here will help you and yours as you settle into December and celebrate His birth.

Here are a few gift ideas that we have tried or are working on currently - most are fun to work on as a family, particularly during days when one child can read to the rest of the gift-makers. :-) A favorite book for read aloud this week might be Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates, by Mary M. Dodge -- suggesting this as I watch the weather forecast for snow tomorrow!

The homemade hand warmers and the memory drawings on this page sound like great projects for the kids: A Do-It-Yourself Christmas: 34 Great Gifts You Can Make Yourself 

With the returning popularity of scarves, I am trying to make one as a gift - here's the pattern: Love Knot Scarf Pattern - Cool to note that they include special instructions for lefties at the end of the instructions! 

Back in the olden days, B.C. (before children), I loved to crochet. We enjoyed some crochet projects around the holidays when the children were younger and our daughter was interested in yarn projects. Recently, I started looking around for some fun and simple afghan crochet patterns, and found a treasure trove of vintage patterns online.

Easy To Crochet Afghan Patterns - Beginner Crochet Afghan Patterns

For those of you with thrift shops nearby, this craft sounds like fun, and Scrabble games abound at most thrift shops:

Scrabble Bracelet - How to Make a Scrabble Bracelet

After seeing this, I thought that it would be fun to just glue small magnets to the backs of the letter tiles and use them for spelling and message fun on the refrigerator or a cookie sheet! NOT for use around small children, of course - tiles are too easy to swallow!

Here's the recipe for Friendship Soup in a Jar, which is similar to Country Soup in a Jar, but the recipe offers the option of adding meat.

Another favorite is Country Soup in a Jar - Six beans, grains and pastas are layered to a pretty effect in a glass jar with seasonings and bouillon granules in this winning idea for a hostess gift.

When our children were young, we had so much fun making "gifts in a jar." Here's a link to Cookies in a Jar - Gifts to Make and Give

Cookies in a Jar - Gifts to Make and Give

These cookie mixes in glass jars complete with recipes were big hits with everyone on our gift giving list!

We had loads of fun making rolled beeswax candles for Christmas gifts, and I finally found the sheets online:

Textured 100% Beeswax Honeycomb Sheets for Candle Making - Item # P0001

We would get sheets of honeycomb wax, and the children would roll them into tapers or other interesting shapes, wrapping them around wicks that we purchased in the crafts department of Walmart or Hobby Lobby. This was a favorite project for them, and the candles were beautiful to burn and lasted a long time - big hits with grandparents and friends!

$5 Friday Bonanza is Underway

Wow - the $5 Friday Special is off and running! We started it a bit early this week, as it is going to be a wild Friday here and we needed to make sure that this special $5 Friday sale was not lost in the shuffle. Happy shopping, and thanks!

$5 Friday Specials include:

$5 - American Government Unit Study CD (Regular price is $14.95)*


$5 - Space Unit Study CD (Regular price is $14.95)*


$5 - Dogs Unit Study CD (Regular price is $14.95)*


$5 - Heroes of Chivalry CD (Regular price is $14.95)*


$5 - First Steps in Faith CD (Regular price is $19.95)


ONLY $1 shipping for your entire order!

Jump in now and take advantage of the savings - at midnight on Friday,
prices go back to their regular values!

* Only one CD of each title per customer


Interesting Book Notes from Amanda

"Advent is a Latin word meaning "the coming." Officially established by church leaders in the 6th century, Advent was originally meant to be a time when Christians reflected on the meaning of Christmas and when new believers spiritually prepared themselves for baptism."

From Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, by Ace Collins.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski.

Another favorite of mine that will touch your heart, this book tells the story of a wood carver, a young widow, her son, and a lesson in love and patience for everyone. This book is included, year after year, in our Christmas wicker basket of holiday favorites for everyone's enjoyment.

One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham. Published by Baker Book House. This is one of our family favorites for all ages. In this beautifully illustrated book, a young injured boy seeks help from a grandmotherly woman during a snowstorm.

While the two wait out the storm in her cabin, the woman lovingly shares the story of the Bible from Creation to the Resurrection, and each chapter ends with a bit of a cliffhanger -- perfect for family reading time during December.

As I write this today, we are expecting our first snowfall, and I'm enjoying the Christmas instrumental music of Chris Rice -- Living Room Sessions -- Christmas. Next up on the listening list is Steve Sensenig's untouchable instrumental Christmas Solitude. It's quiet here now, and everyone is outdoors, getting things ready for the first snowfall. Plenty of firewood in the woodpile, and cookies are baking -- wish you were here!

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