DIY Polar Advent Calendar

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The craziness of the season sometimes creeps up on us, and honestly we can feel our anxiety rise. Bake the cookies. Buy the gifts. Don’t just buy the gifts – find a good sale on the perfect gifts. Oh, and don’t buy every gift…make DIY homemade gifts. Host a holiday party. Mark the calendar for Christmas Pageants and office holiday parties, too. It’s all very magical, and we absolutely love it. But, wow, it’s exhausting.

Now that we are in Christmas mode, it’s only fitting that we kick it off with our official Advent calendar. Since Jessica is late with almost everything she ever does (and goes), it’s even more fitting this Advent Calendar comes on Dec. 4, 4 days after Advent officially started. Better late than ever. You still have time – make it this year, or pin it for next year.

We made a fun DIY Advent Calendar last year. This year, we shopped Oriental Trading {where the options are endless} and went with a snowy, polar scene topped off with our kid’s favorite toys – animals. Not just any animals, but animals with mini Santa hats. Ho Ho Ho.

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Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Set the scene with snowflakes. Hang the snowflakes above the winter advent calendar with fishing wire or twine, and tape.

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Step 2: Use a hot glue gun to glue the cute Oriental Trading mini Santa hats to the toy polar animals.

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Step 3: Fold the cardboard boxes.

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Step 4: Glue, stick or pin the numbers to the front of the boxes.

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Step 5: Fill the boxes with goodies such as candy, and mini toys, or make it all about acts of kindness, a family activity or helping others.

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Step 6: Stack the boxes so the numbers make sense, and it looks good visually to the eye. Then, place the animals randomly.

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Step 7: Watch the kids open the mini boxes everyday with pure joy.

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Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post.

 

DIY Stocking Stuffer Your Kids Will Love: Reindeer Snot

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We can hardly believe we made anything that resembles or even has the word snot in it, as we dislike our kids snotty noses all winter. But, this idea was just too fun not to make. Jessica made Reindeer Snot, aka glitter slime, and shared all the details with Momtastic.

Get a tissue, wipe your nose – do whatever you have to do – just get over there to learn all about it. We used our favorite new stamp-making machine, Silhouette Mint, to make the custom stamp. We got a little stamp happy, and plan to make these holiday favors for the kids friends. Not only is the homemade slime a great DIY stocking stuffer, but also it’s a creative thing to make with the kids that they can ooh and ahh over this holiday season.

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DIY I’m Grateful For List Pad

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Moments you are grateful for in your everyday life should be noted. Whether you write it down, type in into your phone, or record it in a gratitude journal, take the time to do it. With this continued practice, your mind and energy vibrations will shift. Your perspective will change. Negativity will find it’s way to the door, and a lighter, happier heart will be full of joy.

The list does not need to be profound, and there’s no wrong answer. It will challenge you on the worst of days. And, on the best days, it will come easy. My {Jessica’s} list this past week included gratitude for two weeks in a row of bright and warm sunshine, no snow on the ground in early November, a good glass of wine shared with friends, a moment of great hope for our country, a phone conversation with my elderly and sick grandpa, kisses from my children in the morning and a husband that loves to cuddle, even when I don’t.

Oprah, a firm believer in a gratitude journal, is quoted as saying, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, never have enough.” We couldn’t agree more.

Yes, it’s true that circumstances are a reality, life can be really, unbearably hard, and our hearts can actually break. But, the one thing we can control is our attitude and the way we look at all the moments in our life. With a grateful mind and heart, life is more likely to have a beautiful view.

We have an easy and cute DIY for you to note all the things you’re thankful for in your life on a daily basis. It’s a DIY list pad; a I’m Grateful for List Pad, to be exact. The scroll means the list can go on and on, and it’s decorated with faux marble and Rifle Paper Co. paper, so it’s pretty to look at…which means it can be carried around with you, or left in a public area of your house.

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Here’s how we did it!

Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Cut wood to dimensions you want. Our wood is about 3 inches x 15 inches. Home Depot was amazing and did it for us in-store for free. Gather all other materials.

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Step 2: Cut copper coil with pliers. Measure {eyeball method} the amount you will need for a U shape to reach from the left side of the wood to the right. Test out the width of the copper on the wood, and trim it down if need be.  We liked the copper to hang down from the top of the wood in a U shape, so we could include the vinyl text on top.

 wood-pliers

Step 3: Gently bend the copper in a U shape. Do not bend it into a V because it is difficult to re-shape. This step is easy, and even small muscles can do it. Use the pliers to flatten both sides of the copper so it aligns right next to each edge of the wood.

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Step 4: Use a drill with a small metal bit to make small holes on each side of the copper, in the center of the flat part. Press down firmly as you drill so it doesn’t move in the middle of your drilling.

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Step 5: Align the copper piping just the way it will sit on the wood. Use a pencil to mark the spot on each side of the wood, so you will know where to drill the holes to screw it in place.

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Step 6: Drill ‘pilot’ holes in the wood on the pencil marks. Do not drill the entire length of the screw, only about ¼ size of the screw, so you can screw in the screws the remainder of the way. Pilot holes guarantee your screw won’t break off and your wood won’t split.

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Step 7: Insert one end of the copper piece through the center of the thermal paper roll and push it until the paper roll is on the center of your U-shaped copper piece. Make sure the paper roll {the way it rolls out on the wood} lies flat on the wood, which will be easier to write on.

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Step 8: Align each end of the copper to the holes on each side of the wood, and screw the small screws into the holes.

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Step 9: Trace the wood on the back of the Rifle Paper Co. wrapping paper and the faux marble. Add an angle on the top for a color-block effect. For the marble, cut the piece out, remove the backing and stick onto the wood. For the wrapping paper, cut it out, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the wood and the back of the wrapping paper. Place it on the wood and use a straight edge to make sure there are no bubbles. You can add a layer on Mod Podge on top of the paper if you want. We chose not to.

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faux marble

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Step 10: Design a Grateful for design on the Silhouette Software. Follow the vinyl instructions on the box, and look at a previous post here to see how we do it. Add the vinyl on the top of the wood.

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Step 11: Pull the paper down to the bottom of the wood. Wrap the hair tie around the bottom of the wood to keep the paper in place.

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Step 12: Begin to reflect and write down all that your grateful for. Make it a part of your daily routine and it will change your life for the better. Do it once a day, twice a day or three times a day – just do it. Thanksgiving is a great time to start.

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Monogram It: Favorite Personalized Gifts

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We made a traditional DIY planner for Darby Smart and Michaels semi-recently. The video was so fun to make. Check it out here. Our final touch on the cover of the planner was a monogram. We believe you can never go wrong with a monogram.

Monogram gifts are among our favorite things. We love everything about them. Since gift-giving season is upon us, we’re going to help you get a head start on some shopping, and every item can {and should} be monogrammed.

Mark and Graham Acrylic Cuff | Moon and Lola Acrylic Dalton Charm | GiGi New York All in One Bag Black Embossed Python {this is Jessica’s favorite clutch, thanks to her chic friend, Shannon} | Monogram Belly Mug | Mark and Graham Copper Ice Bucket | Canvas with Leather Weekender Bag | Monogrammed Garland Ring Dish | Glitter Monogram Letter | Dipped Personalized Journal | Patterned Hotel Keychain | Monogrammed Door Mat | Initial Bar Pendant | Monogram Lacquer Tray | Plaid Throw | Raw Wood Board | Monogram Tote | Monogrammed Water Bottle 

Voting Idea for Kids: DIY Ballot Voting Booth

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What an election circus it’s been this year?! We’re happy to see it end. Our ballots are in. We will be tuning in to see the results on Election Day!

Our kids have been hearing about the election from every direction. They are too young to cast their vote on Nov. 8, but with an election at school, they still feel like they are part of a voting process, at their level.

Their school ballot has really fun issues. Oh, to be a kid again where the word donut is actually on the ballot. Bravo to the creative moms that created the ballot ‘issues,’ and the idea of this mock election at school.

ELECTION BALLOT FOR KIDS

Dessert
the school will vote on the best dessert, and the there will be a party with the winning dessert served
Donut vs. Cupcake

Charity
$100 will be given to the charity chosen
Toys for Tots vs. Make a Wish

School Theme Song
the song will be played at all sporting events for the year
Can’t Stop the Feeling, Justin Timberlake vs. Hands Clap, Fitz and the Tantrums

Election week is full of activities. First, the kids will spend some time completing this sentence, “If I were President, I would…” Those papers will line the school hallways, then go home to parents, which is sure to be a priceless document to hold on to forever. Next, the kids will register to vote during lunch. Finally, on Nov. 8 the kids will cast their votes, just like America. Their voice will be heard.

Of course, the kids need a proper voting booth, so we went to work.

This is so easy, and took less than 1 hour.

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Materials:

  • Duct tape, red, white and blue
  • Large box
  • X-acto knife
  • Silhouette America electronic cutting machine

Directions:

Find a big box at your local Home Depot, or appliance center dumpster.

Line the front and back of the box with red and white strips of duct tape.

Line the sides of the box with strips of blue duct tape.

Fold over pieces of the white duct tape, and cut out stars. Use double-sided tape to stick the stars on the blue sides of the box.

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Use an X-acto knife to cut a slit in the front for kids to drop their ballots.

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Add the letter VOTE to the front of the box. We used our Silhouette America electronic cutting machine to cut the letters.

Now, get the kids to VOTE.

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