Gorgeous Centerpieces Kids Can Make

When sitting down to Christmas dinner, all eyes go to the center of the table.  This is because there is a beautiful centerpiece there that was made by your kids.  Don’t spend money purchasing something elaborate for the holiday table this year.  Let the kids (with your help) do the honors for the family.  Here are some centerpiece ideas that are easy enough for kids to create.

Decorative centerpieces can be crafted from items that you already possess.  Things that you use to decorate the house each holiday can be converted to an arrangement for the family dinner table.  Gather a few things and see what you and the kids can come up with.

It’s possible that a string or two of lights can be spared.  What about a few sprigs of greenery?  Put some of those on the table.  No one ever uses every single ornament on the tree.  Get the kids to pick the ones they like and add them to the stockpile.  Wire bows, wrapping paper, small boxes, and candles are good items for centerpieces.  If you don’t have any, invest in some decorative flat marbles that are frequently used in flower arrangements.  That should be plenty to get started with.

When most people think of holiday centerpieces they see candles and greenery.  Try them together and separately.  You will need a platter or a charger plate for the base of your centerpiece.  Charger plates come in holiday colors and compliment whatever you decide to put on them.

Candles can create a centerpiece all by themselves.  Let the kids choose candles of various sizes and colors.  Let them mix the heights and colors of the candles however they choose.   As an accent have them place colored marbles between and around the candles.  The light will sparkle off the marbles when the candles are lit, creating a pretty glow.

Greenery looks rather plain all by itself.  To spruce it up, add a string of colored or white lights.  A touch of sprayed on snow can be added to the tips as well to give it more of a winter feel.

How about adding some glittery ornaments?  Red ornaments resemble large shiny holly berries sitting atop the greenery.  Ornaments can be arranged in a glass bowl with miniature pine cones to create a different kind of centerpiece.  Floating candles can also be placed in a bowl of water and lit during dinnertime.

The ideas are plentiful when it comes to centerpieces for the holiday dinner table or coffee table.  Let the kids create as many as they can think of.  If you have more than you can use, give them away to friends and family to adorn their holiday tables as well.

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Learn more here Recipes, ideas, encouragement to help you make your Christmas the very best ever! All centered around Christ and family!

Fun Food Crafts with Kids!

What’s better than a cute craft made by your child?  A cute craft made by your child that you can eat, that’s what.  Most kids like to cook.  When you are baking cookies or cakes, they want to help.  And no I don’t mean just licking the batter bowl.  Strap a kid-sized apron on them, grab a stool and get ready for some fun family time.

Edible crafts are a hit with family members, teachers and friends too, so you can never make too many.  Here are some ideas for edible crafts that your kids can help you to make.

Chocolate is a good choice for treats all year ’round.  For the chocolate lovers in your life, create chocolate stirrer spoons.  These spoons can be used in hot cocoa or coffee for extra sweetness.  To create your sweet stirrers, you’ll only need a few ingredients and cleanup is a snap.

First, pile a bunch of plastic spoons with melted semi-sweet chocolate and let them cool.  Then wrap the tops of the spoons in colorful bags or festive cellophane and tie with a twist tie.  The chocolate spoons can be added to gifts of coffee, mugs, kitchen baskets, or placed in Christmas stockings.

Candy canes can decorate your tree or you can decorate them and give them away.  Turn that candy cane into a reindeer by adding pipe cleaners, a nose, and felt ears.  Lay them down and glue a box of candy on top to create a sleigh.  Take several different flavored candy canes and tie them with a wire bow to create a candy cane bouquet.

Enlist your child’s help when baking holiday cookies too.  Red hot candies or M&M’s can be added to make faces on Santa or reindeer cookies.  Christmas tree cookies can be frosted with green icing and candy sprinkles for lights.

Christmas is the time that many bakers make gingerbread houses.  Gingerbread kits contain everything needed to bake and assemble the house.  Kids will need your help to put the pieces together, but they can add the icing, gumdrops, and other candies to the house.  Covering the gingerbread house with a protective coating will help preserve it over the Christmas holiday.  If the kids decide to eat it, forget about the coating and dig in.

An alternative to gift tags would be to create cookie gift tags.  The cookies are baked and then a hole is made in the top center while they are still warm.  The recipients name is written in frosting on the cookie and attached to the gift with curly ribbon.  To keep the cookies fresh, seal the cookie tags in plastic bags after they are attached to the top of the gifts.  Wait until the night before Christmas to attach them so the ants don’t enjoy them first.

Food crafts are tasty and oh so much fun to make.  Creating them gives kids a chance to get in the kitchen and learn all about the art of baking and allows you to relieve yourself from some of the stress that all that cooking can cause when you are doing it alone.

 

Non-Edible Gifts by Cindy Rushton

Excerpted from Cindy’s best selling Christ-Centered Christmas 

* Spicy Cinnamon Sticks…Gather a bunch of extra long cinnamon sticks and tie with a holiday ribbon and a sprig of holly or baby’s breath.  Cute to hang on the tree, sit around, and place on gifts instead of a bow!

* Painted Wooden Ornaments…
Purchase pre-cut wooden Christmas cutouts that are pre-painted.  Tie with gold, green, or red thread and use on the tree or as necklaces.  Hot glue a pin on the back to wear as a holiday pin!

* Cookie Cutter Ornaments…Purchase metal cookie cutters and tie bright holiday ribbon through the top!  Easy, Inexpensive, and Precious Gift!

* Recipe Book…It could be just holiday ideas like this one or it could be a collection of all the treasured family recipes.  It could be a collection from all relatives’ submissions.  Be imaginative!  Be sure to keep a copy for your daughters!

* Pictures…Frame a special drawing from the children!  This is sure to be a hit!

* Books…Try your hand at creating books complete with your own original story and illustrations…This is an EXCELLENT school activity!

* Handprint Wallhanging or Sweatshirt…Place bright paint in pie pans (acrylic for burlap wallhanging or fabric paints for sweatshirt).  Have each child put his handprint on material.  The following verse can be painted or attached:

Although we are sorta small
And leave our fingerprints on the wall,
This will help you remember the way
Our fingerprints looked on Christmas Day!

For wallhanging, put a thin dowel rod across the top.  Tie yarn as a hanger.  Fringe the bottom, and you have a fun, sweet gift!

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Christmas On a Budget by Tawra Kellum

Tawra's Family

Between high gas prices and consumers’ fears of a financial squeeze, it seems as if a nice Christmas is out of the picture this year. Not so says Tawra Kellam, editor of Living-on-a-Dime.com. To prove it, here are a few of her ideas from to help make Christmas memorable without breaking the bank!
Go Potluck! You buy the turkey — Have everyone else bring the side dishes and drinks. Turkeys in our area are .39/lb this time of year. If you buy just the turkey, it will only cost you about $5-$10 to feed everyone for a large family gathering.

Celebrate Christmas the week after Christmas. Take advantage of the after Christmas sales and plan your large extended family gathering for the week after Christmas. Besides being less expensive, it is unlikely to interfere with anyone else’s Christmas plans.

Don’t give gifts or give inexpensive gifts to hairstylists, babysitters, teachers and others. I found several wonderful small scented jar candles on clearance for .25 each. I will put three of them in a small basket (purchased at the thrift store for .25) with some tissue paper, ribbon and nice note. A great gift for $1.25!

Break up gift sets. If you find an item that comes in a gift set at Christmas, give parts of it to different recipients. This is great for bath or perfume sets.

Yard sales and thrift stores equal great savings. You can find a lot of new or nearly new items for pennies on the dollar.  For our son, we found a working telescope in the box. It cost $1.00, so we saved $24!  He got what he wanted and we didn’t have to take out a home equity loan!

Make memories, not more junk. Most kids get more than plenty for Christmas from grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you can only afford one gift for your child, make it a memory! Wrap a note in a box with instructions for a treasure hunt. Send your child all over the house with clues and then have the real gift sitting under the tree when they return. Simple, but a great memory for them!

Dining On A Dime e-Book - Eat Better, Spend LessMy favorite book!

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Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of Living-on-a-dime.com/. As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Tawra and Jill teach thousands of readers each month how to save money on their grocery bill and get out of debt.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Christmas! Yes! It is here. Been caught off guard without a gift yet? I HAVE! If you find yourself scrambling for some last minute gift ideas, don’t panic. The following suggestions will help you find something that is just right:

Yummy Treats: Food makes a great holiday gift. Everyone eats, so everyone can use it! If you like to bake, make some cookies or candies and put them in a decorative box or tin. Another option is to buy the food already made. Some items, like a cake, will only need a bow.

Say Cheese: If you have a photo of the person you are giving the gift to (or a picture of their child, spouse, dog, etc) you can create a personalized gift in seconds. All you need to do is print out the picture and stick it into a frame. If you don’t have a photo, a picture frame still makes a great gift.

Gift Baskets: Creating your own gift basket is easier than you think – and it will look like you spent much more time on it than you actually did!

If there is a movie fan on your list, throw together a gift certificate to a video rental store, a box of microwave popcorn and some candy.

If you know someone who is always on the go, encourage them to relax with a box of tea, a mug, some bath salts, and gossip magazine.

A few small items packaged together nicely can turn into a great present!