New Year's Thoughts

I have been busy with many {little projects} but some, like my husband being in the hospital, have been a bit more than the {little} kind.  Those kinds of things always make you think about your faith.  And having him sick around Christmas made me all the more grateful that a little baby was born in Bethlehem so long ago who lived and died to bless us all.

In all of this, there hasn't been much time for blogging.

Happily, he is well now and we celebrated a beautiful Christmas and a wedding in our family too!

I've had the chance to think a lot about blessings and angels who appear in so many forms in our lives over the past few weeks this season.

Recently I was snuggling my baby in this warm blanket.  And suddenly a flood of memories came back to me.

This blanket was a gift.  It was made by eight, nine, and ten-year-old girls from our church when I was a leader working with the Primary children at our church.  The blanket was a gift for my first baby. 
That was about six years ago now.

  Where we live, it gets pretty cold and this sweet blanket still (6 years later) keeps my little Ellie warm every night.  And the thought of those little girls sharing their kindness and talents with me literally fills my heart up.  

Kindness is an amazing thing.  

I watched this sweet movie with my kids a few days ago. The message is one that's sweet all year long.

These are the things on my mind as I think about the blessings of this past year and the opportunities that come with a new year.

Are you the kind that makes new year resolutions?

I love to record mine each year.  It feels like a promise to myself to try and be a little better.  And the chance to let my imagination run wild with all the possibilities of what could be is an adventure I wouldn't think of missing out on.

I get out fun pens, find a cozy chair and a quiet time, and write some thoughts in my journal of what could be.  Looking back at past years is always an important part of this little ritual of looking to the future.

What makes the list of resolutions?

All kinds of things, really. {This little project} was part of one resolution to take better care of the earth.  I've had a great time refashioning some of my old shirts for Kay to wear this year.  Here she is in one of them:

In some ways {this little project} I did for Kay feels like a metaphor for this resolutions-making time.  We take what we already have--the good and the bad--and try to work with it to make ourselves and the world around us just a {little} bit better.

Wishing you a marvelous New Year
with many rewarding {little projects}!

Christ-Centered Christmas and Quiet Books Update

I recently had a reader write to me for ideas of gifts that 
are Christ-centered.  

Christmas Freebie from Heather at Simply Fresh Designs.

Her email reminded me that there are so many 
{little projects} that I haven't shared here.  

Like right now there are 235 drafts of {little project} posts that I just haven't had the time to sit down and actually finish writing to give to you.

But there are many handmade gifts that are great reminders of this season that are in that group of drafts and I will try to share them...

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that the quiet books I shared with you awhile ago are back up. And these would be a great Christ-centered gift. 

 Heather at Simply Fresh Designs has graciously shared them again with all of us, without the images this time, due to copyright issues-but you can add your own.

This is so kind of her.  She just had a new baby!  If you stop by be sure to thank her!
Here are the books she has available so far:

The Life of Christ

Teachings of Christ

We Believe

Prophets and Apostles

And I would also like to share with you a blog dedicated to Christ-centered Christmas and traditions:  There are many fabulous ideas for families of any age.

This I Believe in Christ printable is beautiful.

I'm making this printable nativity tomorrow with my kids, and thought some of you may enjoy it too.

And I love watching our kids "play" the nativity story with our Christmas village

And since the goal is really to keep Christ in our hearts all year, we have been blessed by {this little devotional project} that I'll share again here in case it's useful to you too.

I really like this post about what kids really want for Christmas too, to keep things in perspective.
  I'm always looking for more ideas on the tradition of a Christ-centered Christmas.
What do you do in your home?  
Please feel free to leave a comment with ideas and traditions you like to do.  Then come back and see what treasures of traditions can be found to help celebrate this special day.

Repurposed Christmas Stockings

What do you get with a red sweater, a grey wool sweater, and a men's shirt?


I found this marvelous grey wool sweater at a thrift store and thought that it would make some snuggly-looking stockings.  

I haven't done handmade stockings before, but {this little project} was a lot easier than I thought!


There was enough of the grey sweater for the fronts so I used a red sweater for the backs.  
I had enough to work with by using the front, back and each sleeve of each of the sweaters.  

I ended up with enough to sew 5 stockings by being super careful when cutting them out.
  Four stockings would have been even easier.

And the men's shirt?  
It became the lining!  

One thing I love about repurposing is trying to use each part of the original.
The buttons on the front of the men's shirt made the charming hanging loops--perfect!

And there you go, earth day meets Christmas!

Marshmallow Painting: DIY Wrapping Paper

Did you know that marshmallows make a perfect paintbrush?  

They make great polk-a-dots and there is no clean-up to do when you are done!  

Today I want to share a fun {little project} for 
handmade wrapping paper.  

When I was a child, my mom made a special effort to help us give handmade gifts instead of always buying something.  There is just something special about someone sharing their time and effort to make something just for you.  Handmade gifts are just special.  

But even store-bought gifts get a handmade look with this wrapping paper!

 I can't tell you how excited my kids were to wrap gifts with wrapping paper they created!

Here's what you need to make 
{this little project}:


flat paint holder (I used yogurt lids)

marshmallows (3 sizes is fun)

paper-more info below

paper towel for clean-up

The giant marshmallows are great for making nice big dots!

For paper we used newsprint.  You can get a roll of it very inexpensively at your local newspaper.  I've done it in 2 states now.  The newspapers can't print to the end of the roll so they often sell the ends of rolls (which is a ton of paper!) for just a few dollars-and sometimes they donate it if you are a teacher.  Butcher paper would also work, I think.

Just dip one side of the marshmallow in the paint and stamp it!

Kay did all the red.
Jay did all the green.

They started on opposite sides of the paper and then switched to make sure there was red and green on both sides.

I keep old shirts on hand for {little projects} like this.  And some paper towel was there in case they got extra on their fingers.

We waited until the next day to use the wrapping paper.  It needs some good drying time.

If you cut some of the dots out, they make perfect gift tags! 

In a few days I will have a new nieces (yay!!) so our dot paper wrapped up these cute little polka-dot crib shoes for her!

Here's what it looks like, all wrapped up and ready to give!
(some baker's twine and pom pom "dots" too!)

Easy. Done!

Join in the handmade fun here to
link up your handmade projects!

Handmade Holidays @ This Little Project

A handmade gift is just extra special.

That's why we're celebrating handmade gift-giving 
at {this little project} and we want your projects and ideas!

Link up your handmade {little project} in the linky below to help celebrate this special time of year with a fun collection of handmade ideas.

 Get ready to be inspired!  
Thanks for joining in the "handmade holiday" fun!

To join in the linky below, please follow these guidelines:

-Please share a {little project} that is handmade.  Links to stores are not allowed.

-To share your {little project} please use a direct link to your post, not your homepage.

- Put the "handmade holidays @ this little project" button link (found in the code box above) in the html of your page post so others can come and be inspired too!

- If it you come back and your page is missing, check to see you have followed the guidelines.

- Try to visit at least 3 other project links and spread the comment love!

Christmas Songs for Kids

I'm over at today writing about enjoying Christmas music with kids 
and how to get their whole bodies involved in the fun!

Come on over and see what all this flying is about!

abc button

Thanksgiving Tangrams (free)

We have been having a lot of fun designing some Thanksgiving tangrams in our math work this week.  I started out making {this little project}, but Jay quickly took the lead.  I love watching {little} people at work.  It gives a glimpse into what's on their mind.

Since there aren't many Thanksgiving tangrams available for use on the web, I've included pictures for anyone else wanting to do {this little project}.  I was going to upload the printable patterns, but my scanner isn't working.  Hopefully the photos will be inspiration enough to get you going.

No offense intended in any of these depictions.  After all there's only so much detail you can do with simple shapes.

My turkey:

Jay's turkey:

See what I mean?  I love it!

He also made a {little} baby turkey:

A Native American headdress:

A bow and arrow (this was Jay's idea all the way):

Native American sitting:


Pineapple?  I know, it's not really a traditional Thanksgiving idea.  But trying to make corn turned into pineapple.  Oh well!

And after we finished ours, I looked on the web and loved the ones we found here, especially the mayflower.  We'll have to try that one now!

This is what we use to create our tangrams:

If you have kids coming to your Thanksgiving dinner, challenging them to create their own Thanksgiving tangrams should keep the the {little} people busy for awhile!

Thanksgiving in the Village

It's still one of our favorite {little projects}.

Well, we took our pilgrim peg doll family and put them in their "village" this week.  

{This Little Project} has brought Thanksgiving to life.
It's been serious fun!  

I love watching {little} hands learn through play.  

Initially, I wasn't sure how much Ellie would use {this little project} because of how young she is.
But she loved it!

We used some wood log blocks to make a {little} house for our pilgrim family.

Then Jay and Kay got out our animals and other friends from "the village." 

 The two older kids have really had fun sailing our family on the "Mayflower" boat and pretending to hunt for food and make friends with the natives.

We got out the village park for some green space to play and "plant seeds" on.

And you know I have to sneak some spelling fun in.  Our village tradition has been to use scrabble tiles to name things in the village.

The village isn't all historically accurate (or to scale--check out our chicken above--and our toy turkey is as tall as the pilgrims!)
And all kinds of friends come to visit!

Jay found some twigs outside and we "lashed" some together with yarn for 2 teepees and then used the extras for a little camp fire.

I think next year we'll make our family into indian peg dolls and live in the village from that perspective.

One of the things I love about the story of Thanksgiving is that it transcends time.  
I think of it any time our family moves to a new place or when I meet new people.  You're either the newbie (pilgrim) trying to get to know the natives and find your place in a new land. Or you're the native trying to understand and welcome the new person to your neighborhood.
It's a story that never gets old.  
History is always more about the now than we realize.

Can learning really be this fun?

I love having {little} people at my house!

p.s. here's a look at our Christmas in the Village from the archives in case you want to try a Christmas village at your house or school too.

Pilgrim Peg Dolls

Do you wonder what it would be like to be a pilgrim?  
We do.  

So I made {this little project} for the kids to use in their play this week while we look at the history behind Thanksgiving.  Learning through play makes the details of it all stick so much better (and it's so much more fun!)  

This is our family.  As wooden peg doll people.  

We look quite pious, don't you think?   :)

I found the "kids" standing here on a ruler on the floor today.  I wonder who put them there?

There's more to {this little project} for Thanksgiving play that I'll share tomorrow.  We're too busy playing with them for now.  :)

p.s. if you want to make your own peg people, check out {this little project} from the archives for more details.