CHRISTMAS ADVENT COUNTDOWN CALENDARS

December has always been my very favorite time of the year filled with celebration not only for Christmas and a brand new year, but our family also celebrates three birthdays in December! So it's a very busy, yet exciting, time of year!





















To help us countdown to Christmas, our family has always enjoyed having a Christmas countdown calendar. I was touched when last year my Mum handed down to me my very favorite countdown calendar she had kept from when we were kids (pictured above)! Now my kids are enjoying the tradition of counting down with my calendar.
I wanted to share with you a couple of other unique DIY Christmas countdown/advent calendars to help your family countdown the excitement of Christmas! I made these in my EllaBella Designs days to sell at the market and they were a huge hit!

Mini clipboard Christmas countdown calendar

These little clipboard countdowns are so cute and are perfect for hanging! Clip your favorite photo up and change out the number each day. You could also include an activity on the back of the cards for the perfect advent calendar!


Mini Clipboard Christmas Advent Countdown Calendars





Cookie Sheet Christmas Advent Countdown Calendar

I had a lot of fun making this and it was a very popular workshop! Fill each "spice container" with a treat and/or an activity! Instructions available here.

Cookie Sheet Christmas Advent Countdown Calendar































Do your kids have a favorite Christmas countdown and/or activity? I'd love to hear about it!


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13 GIFT IDEAS FOR TODDLERS

Last week I posted some great gift ideas for 12-year-old tween girls, this week I put together a gift list for those with toddlers in their lives!  Again, there are so many options out there, but here are some favorites of ours and ideas I came up with for my own toddler (who will be turning 3 in January)!

Please note:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you decide to purchase anything, I earn a small commission which helps support my blog. Please see our full disclosure policy here.


13 Gift Ideas for Toddlers

1. Spring Horse - We purchased ours from ToysRUs
3. Hopper Ball
5. Duplo Lego - There are so many kits available.  This huge box looks like fun and this train one, too!
6. Melissa & Doug Birthday Party Cake Set - Our kids just LOVE this set!
7. Hot Wheels Car Hauler - I found a good deal at Canadian Tire!
13. Batter-Operated Puzzle Vehicle Set - We found a similar set on our recent trip to Vancouver. I'm sure you could find one at a specialty store or even eBay has a few right now.

As you can tell, Melissa & Doug are favorites in this house! I often find some deals on Melissa & Doug toys at Winners and HomeSense (during the Christmas season).

I hope I was able to provide you with some great gift ideas for your toddler! Please let me know in the comments what you plan on getting your toddler this year?

I also have 20 ideas on gifts to give 12-year-old tween girls! Check out the post here.

20 Gift Ideas for 12-Year-Old Tween Girls




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20 GIFT IDEAS FOR 12-YEAR-OLD TWEEN GIRLS

We have some Christmas gift ideas for your tween daughter! The possibilities are endless, but here are my 20 top gift ideas for my 12-year-old tween girl! She loves books, art, & mermaids among other things!

Please note:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you decide to purchase anything, I earn a small commission which helps support my blog. Please see our full disclosure policy here.

20 Gift Ideas for 12-year-old Tween Girls


1. InYard Jumbo Therapy Swing - This is the best thing for active kids, especially those like my daughter who love to feel cozy.
2. FinFun Mermaid Tail - My daughter absolutely LOVES her mermaid tail and does not go swimming without it!
3. Glow-in-the-dark Mermaid Necklace - I purchased a similar one from a local seller, but here is one I found on Etsy from FishesGiveKisses.
4. Mermaid Tail Blankets - Yes, my daughter is slightly obsessed with mermaids!  I purchased this locally as well from Fairytale Creations Upcycle on Facebook.
5. 10 ft Heavy Duty Charger - It will be so nice for her to have a longer, heavy duty cable to charge her iPod.
6. Nail Grooming Kit - She is always borrowing my scissors, etc., so this will make a great stocking stuffer! I purchased this kit from Walmart.
7. Cat Ears Earmuffs - These are adorable! I have also found ones similar in Urban Outfitters (on sale, too!).
8. Dan and Phil Go Outside Book - My daughter loves to watch Dan and Phil on YouTube.
9. The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire: The World of Dan and Phil
10. Christmas Fun Mad Libs - Mad Libs are always a great way to spend some fun time together!
11. Manuscript Pen & Mini Seal Set - My daughter has wanted one of these for a long time! I purchased this set at Chapters.
12. Watercolor Paints & Brushes - My daughter is into art in a big way and goes through paint and paint brushes like you wouldn't believe!
13. Red Queen Book
14. A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, Book One)
15. Scratch Art - I actually found a huge box of these at the local dollar store!
16. RUMCENT COLOR 24 Pcs Fineliners
17. Words to Live By: Creative Hand-Lettering Book
18. Creative Lettering and Beyond Book
19. Creative Painting & Beyond Book
20. Kahootz Spirograph Design Tin Set
I hope this helps you select that perfect gift for your tween girl!

Leave me a comment and let me know what is on your daughter's gift wish list or what you are planning on getting her!  I also plan to have a list of gift ideas for boys coming soon!


I also have 13 ideas on gifts to give toddlers! Check out the post here!





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THANKSGIVING THANKFUL TREE CANVAS CRAFT

Some of you may have seen my sneak peek on The Scrapbooking Housewife's Facebook Page of a Thanksgiving project I was working on with my toddler.

It is a wonderful project for the whole family, actually, and it's not too late for a last minute Thanksgiving craft activity for my readers in the United States!
Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Canvas Craft

































I think it turned out to be a beautiful piece of art, and I just love looking at it as a reminder of all of the things we are most thankful for.

I didn't take any photos during the process of crafting it; however, I will give you a quick tutorial on how we made it!

Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Canvas Craft

Supplies:
  • 12" x 16" canvas (I usually just get canvases from the dollar store if it's just for crafting)
  • Paint (any color) - we used tempera paint, as I was working with a toddler!
  • Paint brushes
  • Empty cardboard cereal box
  • Co-ordinating cardstock paper (we used red, green, & orange)
  • Double sided tape
  • 3-D foam dots/squares (we used the extra thick foam - or just double up if you only have thin foam)
  • Pencil & black Sharpie pen
  • Scissors
  • Leaves for inspiration!
Start by painting the background of your canvas.  We chose to use multiple colors horizontally to symbolize grass, land, trees, and sky; or you could paint a beautiful sunset.

At this point, my toddler was going to town with the paint so I had to stop him and I didn't get to finish the sides of the canvas.  Set aside the canvas to dry, leaving it high enough from the little toddler hands!

While the canvas is drying, open up the cereal box being careful not to tear it and sketch a tree shape.  I had my daughter free-hand this, but you could find a tree you like on the internet and print it out then cut and trace it.

Cut out the tree and paint it with light brown paint, use dark brown for accents.  Set aside to dry.

Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Canvas Craft
































Using a leaf I found as the shape inspiration, I then traced leaf shapes on each color of cardstock paper.  I cut out 25 leaves (5 leaves for each of us).

The kids, my husband, and I were each given 5 leaves and the task to write down 5 things we were most thankful for.

Once the canvas was dry and the tree was dry, I attached 3D foam to the back of the tree (cutting some as needed for the smaller branches) then adhered it to the canvas.

I then collected all of the leaves and adhered them to the canvas and tree branches using double sided tape.  It was fun reading all of the leaves and seeing it all come together on the tree!

Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Canvas Craft
You could use white glue to adhere the leaves, but the thought is I would put up new leaves each year.  You could easily attach an envelope to the back of the canvas to slip in the leaves you are changing out.

I hope this has inspired you to get crafting! I'd love to hear what you are thankful for! Leave me some comment love!

I am extremely thankful for all of my readers!  Thank you for reading my blog, liking my Facebook page, and following me on Instagram and Pinterest!!  I truly appreciate each and every one of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


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THOMAS & FRIENDS "KING OF THE RAILWAY" 5th BIRTHDAY PARTY


Once again, for the 3rd time, my son wanted a train-themed birthday party for his 5th birthday.  He is still really into Thomas and Friends and the new movie "King of the Railway" with the new "Rocket" engine, Stephen.  No amount of persuasion could change his mind about not having another train-themed birthday party, and it HAD to be Stephen the "Rocket" engine.  Since there is nothing out there with that theme, I had to make my own.  This year I had to keep the decorating to a minimum, as I was expecting a baby any day (he was born 2 days after Lee's birthday, 22 days early!), and I was pretty uncomfortable and tired by that point.

The decorations consisted of paper fans with images cut out for the centre.  We also used some black and yellow streamers and balloons.

I decided to make a pull-apart cake using cupcakes with the thought that it would be easier than decorating a whole cake!  I love the way it turned out!  I just printed out a photo of Ulfstead Castle as a background and used his Stephen "Rocket" train with the addition of a tall funnel made using a black straw.

See more of our birthday parties:
French Pink Poodle Paris 8th Birthday - Celebration #3
French Pink Poodle Paris 8th Birthday Party
Construction Theme 3rd Birthday Cupcakes
Construction Theme 3rd Birthday Party
Thomas the Tank Engine 2nd Birthday Party




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Our Baby Boy has arrived!!



Our baby boy has surprised us with an early arrival!  Welcome Baby Andrew!!  He was 22 days early, arriving on Sunday, January 26th at 2:31pm, weighing 6lb 14oz and 20 inches long.  Because he was early and jaundice, we had to stay in the hospital for 5 days.  It is so nice to be home now and enjoying our new addition!  Now to get the nursery painted and organized....  :)


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