24 December 2015
Grow, Gather & Give was actually one of the working titles while I was writing Crafting With Nature. While some of the nature crafts in the book didn't particularly lend themselves to being given as gifts, some are absolutely perfect! Here are four gifts you can literally grow, gather and then give...
GROW Citrus - GIVE Pot Scents!
The GROW text leads to a gardening article and the GIVE text leads to a craft tutorial for each!
For over 55 ideas of plants you can grow and gather (and sometimes give!), check out my new book!
17 December 2015
It is almost the week before Christmas! ...and I have a few fun ideas for you to celebrate the run up to Christmas. The first is a fantastic little website that has a "Science Advent". Note: Advent starts on the first day of December and each day counts down until Christmas, but YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT THAT WAY! The idea of Advent is to prepare your heart for the coming Christmas and get excited about the season. You CAN DO THAT THIS WEEK even if you haven't jumped in with a formal advent.
We have used several of these science and STEM advent ideas for our "activity advent" we do every year and the kids have loved them. The super simple CHRISTMAS MYSTERY box, where I put a bunch of Christmas things in a box full of packing peanuts and they had to guess what the items were by touch alone, was a favorite and took maybe 3 minutes to set up.
Reindeer Dust and The Visit.
Both are new this year and both are part of my countdown to Christmas. Reindeer Dust is a story we read a week ago or so, but we will be "making" the reindeer dust the night before Christmas. (You realize that is does NOT have to be super complicated...a packet of instant oatmeal and whatever glitter you have in the house will really do the trick. The kids think it is ***magic***!)
Speaking of the night before Christmas, The Visit is a BEAUTIFUL take on the "real" story behind ANBC. It is one of those books that children enjoy listening to, but the illustrations make it a pleasure for adults to read.
Also on our Christmas book list every year is Christopher PopinKins (the nicer, original version of Elf on a Shelf) and the girl version: Marie. We also read THIS beautiful version of The 12 Days of Christmas and Jotham's Journey (though this year we cannot find it...where did it GO?!?!) There are actually a whole bunch of "Journey" books for advent -- Ishtar, Tabitha, Bartholomew, Amon...
Whether you use Christmas books as part of Advent or as a Christmas gift, they are a treasure. My Aunt Fran started us on classic Christmas story books and our small collection is truly treasured and a joy to get our each Christmas. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and have a fun-filled week before Christmas!
Posted by Amy Renea at 8:51 AM said...
11 December 2015
Posted by Amy Renea at 2:34 PM said...
10 December 2015
I have always loved board games, but it wasn't until my husband and his brothers and sisters introduced me to "thinky" board games that I really fell head over heels. Now I spend my downtime beating other stay-at-home moms at online Ticket to Ride. I miss playing board games with our brothers/sisters in law and hope to get together again for game night SOON!
I have gathered up my favorite board games, ipad games, and games & activities for the kids. I can pretty much buy a game for almost anyone on my Christmas list and they will be a happy camper. It is just a matter of getting the RIGHT ONE.
San Juan - Yes another Puerto Rico game! This one is similar to Puerto Rico, but played with cards instead of on a board and the strategy is slightly different. The "library" is gold in this game, so get it early, but make sure not to play a "chapel" TOO early or you will pull money out of your business too early a la Kevin O'Leary. The game overall is well-balanced and holds up to multiple strategy twists and turns.
For iPad -- all found in the app store
For the Kids:
Oddly Obvious -- Fun for kids, and great for working on vocabulary skills. It was just right for our 7 and 9 year old...too much for the 5 year old.
Toca Builders - This is hands down my kids' favorite tablet game and it is great for building spacial reasoning skills.
Geometry Dash is a family favorite, as is Drive Ahead and Cut the Rope if you are looking for downloadable apps. (Those are recommendations straight from my sons!)
Speaking of Jenga --- BOOM.
Posted by Amy Renea at 2:36 PM said...
08 December 2015
For the comfort hounds...Are you a shoes on or off in the house type of person? It seems this varies from home to home, state to state and country to country. I am a shoes OFF person and my kids have learned to be as well. They track in so much filth that I cannot imagine a house where their shoes stayed ON! Even so, there are always little bits of sand, dirt or dust that seem to appear no matter how often I sweep, vacuum and mop. Those little bits sticking to the bottom of my feet drives me batty. Thus, I am almost always in socks or slippers when I am inside. Lately, it has been THESE socks almost exclusively:
|I squint when I smile...I can't help it...|
Same deal with the beanies -- for EVERY one sold, one is given to those in need.
Comfort in ScentsScent is such a comforting thing, isn't it? I love a good candle and they make a great little gift. Tarah Jade has interesting scents like Black Fig or Volcano, while Yankee keeps things simple a homey with classics like Christmas Cookie and (my favorite!) Macintosh. This year though, I TOTALLY have my eye on THE Jaime Fraser candle...mmmmm.
Min Design also has really cool gift candles this year, with chalkboard jar candles (you can really write on them!), a super cute gumball candle and my favorite:
For the Gardeners...
Any gardener worth their salt puts a lot of wear and tear on gloves and a new pair is always appreciated. I would recommending splurging on these AWESOME elbow-length options! ($27) The best part?? Fingertip reinforcement (Iron Man style...) so rose thorns don't pierce your fingers and you don't get holes in the index fingers.
Hori-Hori (Yes, again) I mentioned this tool last year (I asked for and received a hori-hori), but I mention it again because every gardener could use a new hori-hori. It will be much appreciated, much utilized and carefully hidden from the rest of the family which will try to steal it for non-gardening chores.
Mini-White Globe Lights - Gardeners use Christmas as an excuse to light up their favorite plants. Mini globe lights are the perfect complement to evergreens or faux greens. THESE Martha Stewart globe lights available at Home Depot are a quality favorite and you can connect up to 25 SETS from one outlet safely. (I did another fun little project with these lights on instagram!) That's all for now, but I have a detailed game gift guide coming up later this week and for now...
Curious? Here is my wishlist for Christmas this year!
Posted by Amy Renea at 7:30 AM said...
03 December 2015
- Gold Mercury Glass Votives
- Unfinished Wood Candle Base
- Fragrance Oil (I used evergreen pine)
- Baker's Twine (Cappuccino - my favorite pack!!)
- Silver Paint and Gold Spray Glitter
- led tealights or regular tealights or votives (range from 10 cents-50 cents and on up)
- Burlap (optional, for centerpiece)
- Pine Sprays - Flocked
Instructions:The key to making this assortment of candles a "Menorah" is to raise the middle candle. These unfinished wooden candle holders are the perfect size UPSIDE DOWN to fit the tealights. To match the tealights, I gave the wood finish a coat of silver paint and then a quick spray of gold glitter.
Hot glue a tealight holder to the candle holder (upside down!).
In my simple version, the 4 tealights on either side are set directly on the windowsill or centerpiece, then the middle one is raised. For greater impact, you could place all 8 outer candles on upside-down candle holders, then stack one candle holder -- one upside down candle holder and tealight for the middle candle.
What you may NOT omit is the fragrance. This Evergreen Pine fragrance smells like winter itself and is the easiest way to make cheap tealights seem luxurious. Simply drip a few drops of the oil INTO THE TEALIGHT HOLDER, set the tealight on top and light. The heat will release the scent. Note I did NOT say to pour fragrance oil onto a burning candle.
Now. If you are not of the Jewish faith, these ideas can still work for you! Simply take the tealight holders and add to these beautiful flocked pine branches for a 5 minute centerpiece. The branches are large and lush -- you only need 2-3 for the 9 candle arrangement.