Momma to an angel and a rainbow.
Journeying through grief, parenting after loss, and living life one day at a time.
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The Nativity is a story a lot of people know and learn about around Christmas time. If you’d like your toddler or preschool to know this story, doing this Nativity Popsicle Stick Craft is a way to help them remember it and make it fun too.
As you might know if you’ve been following along with our story is that Mila is in preschool. Her preschool talks a lot about Bible stories.
I don’t necessarily talk about one religion at home. We talk about how people believe in all kinds of different things and none of it is wrong. My personal beliefs stem from different religions and readings, I’ve written about them in previous posts.
No matter what I believe, I want Mila to be able to make her own decisions. Right now, she’s asked a lot of questions about Jesus and Bible stories. So, we’re reading and doing activities with what she’s curious about.
Mila loves baby Jesus. Every time she sees a Nativity set up she says, ‘awww. Look at the baby.’ Then she names everyone.
It definitely made me want to do this activity with her even more. After a trip to the store, we got everything to create our interpretation of her favorite scene.
Here’s what you’ll need to create this book and craft pairing.
To start this activity off, we read the book with each other. She let me know she knew all the characters and that Jesus was born in a manger.
After reading, it was time to start making the scene.
We first wanted to make the manger. All we used was popsicle sticks and glue. We ended up using big popsicle and it took five across for the base. We used a smaller popsicle stick to connect it together.
Then for the floor of the manger, we used one big popsicle stick across it on the bottom. For the roof, we just crisscrossed them on the top.
Next we made Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus.
Again, we used popsicle sticks. For Mary and Joseph we decided to use big ones and for Jesus we used a small one. To get the correct length, we just cut them with scissors.
To make them look like they had clothes, hair, and accessories, we used yarn. You could use any color, I think ours turned out really cute.
Then, glue them down on the manger.
After that, make a star out of pipe cleaner and attach with glue.
You could stop here, but we decided to make this an ornament. To do this, we just glued on another piece of yarn so we could hang it.
Mila was SO proud of her hard work on this piece. She loved seeing this family together and talking about what she learned at preschool. I am so happy she can always let me know what she’s learning about.
This craft is so much fun for kids of all ages. I hope if you make it, you have as much fun as we did!
What’s your favorite Christmas book or story to read? Let me know in the comments.
Also, if you make this craft/ornament, tag me on Instagram or Facebook (@greyskies.rainbowhighs).
We love fun traditions in our house. Any time I can be transformed back into childhood, I’m all for it. Especially when I get to pass it on to Mila. One of my favorites crafts in elementary school were Tissue Paper Lanterns, so we made a Christmas themed one.
There are a ton of different skills in this DIY for Mila and now we have another tradition we can do every year.
Another part of this DIY that I love is it’s an upcycle project! Here’s what you’ll need:
Mason Jar or Recycled Glass Jar
Modge Podge or DIY Modge Podge (Glue and Water)
Paint or Foam Brush
To start off, I had Mila cut pieces of tissue paper into squares or smaller pieces. We’re always trying to work on scissor skills and she really enjoys it too. With a little help from me, we had more than enough pieces of tissue paper.
Then, we took our DIY modge podge to put it all together. To make DIY modge podge, just use regular, white glue and add water into it. It should mix into a modge podge consistency. You can see a picture of it down below too. It’s just a more watered down glue consistency that’s easy to spread with a paintbrush.
Mila and I worked in sections. We’d put paint on, then put a layer of tissue paper over top. After it was glued down, we put another thin layer of DIY modge podge on top.
After you fill in all the sections, just let it fully dry. It doesn’t take too long at all.
Once it’s dried, you can put a small candle in it and the light shines through beautifully. I absolutely loved how it turned out and it was easy to do with Mila. Hopefully we can keep making them every year with different patterned tissue paper. Just make sure to add the year on the lantern somewhere.
I ended up putting it as a centerpiece on our dining room table. It looks so cute and I love showcasing all her DIYs and crafts.
Do you ever make a craft over snd over again? If so, what do you make?
It’s the season of giving! To give back to Mila’s teachers, we decided to do an easy DIY gift I think her teachers will love. Made with a lot of love and something to remember her when they bake, we came up with this ‘smart cookie’ bundle.
Since Mila is in preschool and has three classroom teachers, I needed a gift that was simple to put together and not super costly. Instead of just doing a mug with hot chocolate, I thought of what Mila and I love to do during Christmastime: make cookies!
A quick internet search led me to the little quote on the pot holder and it all came together!
All I needed for this Easy DIY Teacher Christmas Gift was:
Chocolate chip cookie mix
Sparkly iron on vinyl
The most tasking part of this DIY gift was making the pot holder. If you have a Cricut and know how to use it, you should be golden.
My friend made me the image and I did everything else. Thank goodness for friends who can help out (thanks Dana!). If you don’t know how to use a Cricut or don’t have one, I’m sure a friend or family member would be willing to help out. There’s also a ton of different pot holders on Etsy you could quickly order… but it’s seriously easy to DIY.
One issue with ironing this design on was all the stitching. I had to really maneuver it and press really hard for it to stay on. Once it got on there, I think it looked really cute. I’m so glad I had the glitter vinyl at home!
I bought the cookie mix and whisk, but I DIY’d the ornament.
All I used was cardboard, a hot glue gun, and fluffy yarn. I’m going to do another in-depth blog post in the next few days about these DIY ornaments. You could also purchase one or make another type of DIY one.
When we actually give these gifts to Mila’s teachers, it’ll be easy to wrap up and hand to them. I love how it all looks together and I just used an extra piece of yarn to complete it. This could also be done with an oven mit. The items would just sit in it instead.
Some extra things we’re going to add that aren’t pictured here are little paintings from Mila in a Christmas card. She is adamant about making them something, so that’ll be a fun project.
This Easy DIY Teacher Gift is perfect for busy parents who want to make their teacher gift special without breaking the bank or being SUPER creative. Hopefully this will give you some inspiration and take a little stress off of you this holiday season.
Wondering what to get other people in your life? Check out these two gift guides I made this year:
Let me know in the comments what your go-to teacher gift is. OR if you’re a preschool or elementary school teacher, let us know what you’d like to receive or what would be helpful. I’d love to know more things to get in the future for Mila’s educators.
Christmas crafts don’t always have to be ‘perfect’ to be adorable. Toddlers and preschoolers love to learn by using the things around them, especially through art. This Christmas Process Art Mila created was a great reminder of that!
There’s a huge pressure to have the most perfect crafts online. It seems kids have to follow instructions step-by-step to create the best craft. When you give them the power to create on their own, they can create something even more spectacular.
I’m not going to say Mila and I haven’t been doing specific crafts together, but she needed this free project to showcase her creativity.
All we used to create this beautiful piece of art was from other Christmas items we had at home:
Red and Green Washable Paint
Gold Acrylic Paint
To set up this activity, all I did was pour the paint and tell Mila to use these objects to paint.
She did ask for a paint brush and I did let her use it to push the bells around. Then she used it to paint after trying all the objects. She really went to work when she could use the brush at the end!
As much as it was a process art activity, I did not want to put a limit to her creativity. I think she had fun feeling the different textures and she loved shaking the bells too. It puzzles her why the items don’t paint as well as the brush… but that’s what it’s all about!
When she was finished, we talked about what her artwork symbolized and what we wanted to title it. She said it was just about Christmas and it didn’t need a name. So, it’s left untitled, but I did have her sign it and I dated it. I told her it reminded me of a Christmas tree, just REALLY close up. It honestly just makes me smile, like all of her artwork does.
We love making art as Christmas gifts… and will probably do it again this year! Let me know in the comments… What’s the best Christmas or holiday present you’ve received? Handmade or store bought?
DIY’ing and Christmas go hand-in-hand. So, we’re adding a little sparkle and pink to this season with this DIY Christmas Ornament Garland.
Mila and I love glitter and all things girly. This garland felt like it belonged in our home.
The best part of this DIY is you can personalize a DIY Christmas Ornament Garland to your style and it’ll be just as cute! Plus, I spent around $25 dollars for everything you see here. I think that’s a great deal for something that was easy to make and perfect for our family.
Everything you see here (minus the first ornament on the left) comes from Target. It consists of:
Tree Pick (Christmas Tree Filler)
On Black Friday, I found most of these items at Target. They had most of their ornaments for $3, which are so cute! We love pink and have a ton of it in our home, so I knew it was a good purchase. The selection Target had was perfect. There were inclusive pieces and different textures that had to go home with us.
The flocked garland is probably 5 foot long. I wrapped it through these hooks and folded it back to make it look thicker. Then I put in the metallic tree pick for a fuller look too.
After it was up and placed how I liked it, I just started adding ornaments. To make some of them look longer, I used ribbon or yarn.
I love the layered look and how everything meshes together.
Not only do I love how it turned out, it only took me twenty minutes to make. It’s a simple, statement piece that I’m proud to have in my home.
I know that any person can something similar with ornaments that they love.
How do you decorate for Christmas? Classic reds or green? Or do you have your own style with it?
A new month means there’s new things to explore and discover. This month, we’re doing a Christmas Sensory Play. The most fun part of this sensory bin is everything is bought from the dollar store!
We love Christmas and all the joy it brings to us. I think Mila is mostly excited for snow and Santa to bring presents. To combine that happiness and interest, I thought this Christmas Sensory Play idea was the best of both worlds!
This sensory bin is filled with:
Different types of fake snow
As I said before, I got this entire bin at the dollar store! Everything was pretty cheap and easy to put together. All I did was dump the three different types of fake snow in the refrigerator organizer.
If I could give one fake snow suggestion, I’d tell everyone not to get the small foam balls. They get EVERYWHERE and stick to everything. We could have done with just the glitter snow and the medium sized foam balls. It would have worked just as well.
Anyways, then I hid chocolate kisses underneath so Mila could find surprises.
The next things I added were the jingle bells. I had a ton of different sized and colored bells. This is important for one of the activities that I’ll explain.
To make it a little more festive, I added five, felt Santa stickers. They’re so cute!
There’s seriously a ton of activities you can do with this Christmas Sensory Bin.
The first is just letting your child explore the sensory bin. There they can find the chocolate kisses, feel the different types of snow, or use their imaginations. Mila loves when I don’t give her directions and she just does whatever.
One activity that I directed her in was sorting the bells. You could have them sort by color or size. This provide a ton of different skills.
I also had her count the Santas too. There’s a ton of math that kids can do that will help!
In all, this Christmas Sensory Bin is festive and educational. Kids will love it and you’ll love that they’re learning and having fun.
Do you have any suggestions of Christmas play? I have a few, but I’m definitely up for more ideas. Also, what are you most excited for this Christmas season?
It’s officially time to start getting festive. Our Christmas tree is up and indoor decorations are done. With all these bucket list items getting crossed off, we had to do another… write a letter to Santa.
I mean.. there’s less than a month until Christmas, we HAD to make sure he knew what Mila wanted this year.
The letter to Santa is very important in the eyes of kids who believe in him. When Mila realized that Santa was going to see her letter, she had that look Ralphie did in A Christmas Story.
It was all very official business.
After brainstorming her thoughts for the letter out loud, she decided it was time to write. Since Mila only knows how to spell her name at the moment, I got to help her out a little in the writing and spelling part of this.
Her letter to Santa states:
How do you do? Thank you for giving me Christmas presents. I would like a big doctor thing.
She’s a lady that knows what she want! Hopefully she’ll actually become a doctor one day since that’s the only thing she wants at the moment. Besides becoming a mommy like me… her words.
Anyways, I wanted to share this big moment because there’s a lot of learning going on in this simple letter.
Not only did she practice her writing skills and can prove she can remember and write her name, she drafted and wrote a letter! That’s pretty big for a three year old. Just because she didn’t physically write it, doesn’t mean there wasn’t any thought or work put into it.
It also showed her emotional intelligence with the thank you’s and asking Santa how he was doing.
These are all social skills that are all important to learn… simply by just writing a fun letter to Santa! Learning really is everywhere you look.
Fingers crossed Santa gets her letter in time. She used special stamps to help it travel quickly.
I’ll keep you all updated on if he does.
You can find the ‘Letter to Santa’ template at The Letter Vee. Some of the other stamps come from Three Little Crumbsnatchers, she also has the cutest Christmas activities you can print out for free. I’ll be posting them this December, so keep your eyes peeled.
Does your child or did they write letters to Santa? I’m thinking of recording Mila too. I think it would be cute to look back on. Let me know in the comments if you think that’s a fun idea or not.
Moms do so much for their family and friends. Sometimes it can be hard to think of a gift to give them. Although this says what moms want, it’s more like a wish guide/things that I’ve been happy with in the last year that I wanted to share to give you ideas.
Every mom is as individual as any person in the world. I have a feeling the women in your life will love at least one of these items.
One of my favorite ways to switch up my looks are adding hair accessories. There are so many different options and they’re all so cute. I feel like I have a ton of scrunchies, but I’m always looking for more. I’ve been really into clips that can flip my hair all the way up. It changes the way my hair looks and they’re comfortable. My last favorite accessory lately is the other type of clip or barrette. Mila and I can share them and it gets the hair in front out of my face.
Here are some options and shops that I love. Seriously, my go to for my hair accessories.
Honestly, I LOVE all the options my Stitch Fix gives me and my stylist hits what I like every time. I like that these clothes are a mix of trendy and classic styles. Any time I wear one of my fixes, I get so many compliments. It’s been a great way of keeping my wardrobe updated, especially when I’m teaching every day.
If you have a fashionista in your life or someone who needs clothes, a Stitch Fix subscription is a great option. When you use this link, you’ll get $25 off your first fix! Believe me, you’ll love it!
I use skincare products twice a day, every day. You can imagine that I go through a decent amount of products. It’s always nice when I’m surprised with items that I have to buy a few times a year… especially because I’m going to use it and appreciate it so much.
Most people have their favorite skincare lines, but I listed the two I love to use below.
Eclectic Serenity – Local friends, I 100% recommend Kiersten’s products. They make my skin feel so good.
Little Seed Farm – I love their products too. Their goat’s milk moisturizer is one of my favorites. It keeps my skin feeling silky and refreshed.
My least favorite thing in the world to buy are bras. I feel like it’s hard to find the right size and trying them on can feel daunting. But all women deserve to feel comfortable in their skin and that starts with good undergarments.
I was gifted a few items from Adore Me and then signed up for the Adore Me VIP Membership. It’s a monthly membership that costs about $40. There’s all kinds of perks with it like a huge discount, free items, and you can skip months too. It sounds too good to be true, but I love the flexibility it gives it’s customers!
The best part about Adore Me is they have sizes and styles for everyone. Before I started shopping I looked up their fit guide that helped me figure out what size would be best for me there. After that, I easily found a ton of different sets that I needed to get! They also have the cutest lounge clothes and pajamas. There’s truly something for everyone at Adore Me. Their membership just is an added bonus.
To help the mom in your life feel their best about their body, an Adore Me VIP Membership will help them feel comfortable picking out the bras and panties that will work best for them and fit them perfectly too.
I promise, they’ll be feeling their best as well.
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by ‘clean tok’ or any organizational videos on social media… *silently raises hand.*
I’m always in awe of how people share their organizational skills. It’s so satisfying to watch and I feel like their lives have to be less chaotic for it. The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to find good deals to help me out with my home organization too. There’s a ton more, but I linked three at the end of this section.
Personally, I would love to receive any organizational help. It would be a useful gift and in the long run it would start to feel amazing too. If you know any moms who are obsessed with watching these kinds of videos, I bet they’d love these too.
If you would look at my phone, you’d easily see that I have over 10,000 pictures on there. I’m constantly snapping pictures of what’s going on around me. The one thing I wish I would do more of is printing them out.
The first year of Mila’s life, I made a book a month to capture those moments. To this day, I still go back through them AND Mila loves being able to sit down and flip through the books too. They make such amazing keepsakes and I love how they hold up. For 2022, I’m going to make it a goal to start making photo books again.
I’d also love to receive one as a gift. If you’ve went on a trip with a mom in your life, it’d be fun to share those memories with her. Or fill it up with all your favorites. Either way, mom’s love photos and this would be a great gift.
Shutterfly – I used to make all my photo books here. They always turn out amazing and they have a free photo book every month if you have their app.
Chatbooks – I have not used this service yet, but I have been seeing amazing deals from them. I think it would be awesome to try out!
Mootsh – I haven’t used this service either but it prints out pictures each month for you to do as you please with them.
A day full of self care and pampering feels really nice. I love getting facials and my hair done, so any time it’s gifted to me, I feel extra special. All moms would love to have a spa day. There are a ton of local spas that have different specials. It’s a great way to give back to the local economy and you get to pick the best things that your loved one would want.
Another option would be for reiki sessions! It’s a different type of self care and relaxation that would be a great gift for moms. Need a reminder of what reiki is? Here’s my first experience with it.
Time to Themselves
As much as I love being around Mila and the craziness of our life… sometimes it’s just nice to have a break. Obviously, this could be paired up with a spa day, but sometimes alone time at home is all you need. Or maybe a movie out, a date night, or time with their friends. Whatever they need, it’s nice that they have that option.
I think asking for time alone is one of the hardest things for a mom to ask for. At least it is for me. If someone can offer that time or a night away, it could be a nice gift and you get to be around pretty cool kids too.
I don’t think there will EVER be a time that I’m disappointed about getting a candle for a present.
Not only does it make your house smell really good, they can be so relaxing. Any time I take a bath or just need a quiet minute, lighting a candle makes everything seem a little better.
Another awesome part about candles is being able to use the jars afterwards. I repurpose almost all of my candle jars to make plant propagation glasses or storage containers too. It’s sort of like two gifts in one!
AsYouWish – funky designed pots with a long burning time.
Spend Time With Them
The best gift for moms is just spending time with their family. At the end of the day, that’s what makes everything feel special.
I love just being able to have the time to spend with Mila. No matter if that’s a day of play, cuddling, or going somewhere, my time with her is absolutely priceless.
Hopefully when she’s older and wanting to know what to gift me, she can find this and decide to just spend the day with me.
The little moments are the best presents. Promise.
If you’re holiday shopping online this year, try Rakuten. It’s a way to shop online and get cash back at different stores. Honestly, it’s a great way to get a little back. I use it whenever I can. Right now, if you use this link, you can get $40 for just signing up… and it’ll give it back to me too. Who couldn’t use $40 extra dollars during the holiday season?
What do you think of this gift guide? As a mom or woman, what items would you add to your gift list? Let me know in the comments.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This year, I’m trying to start a new tradition with my family: a DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Sign.
Since there’s been so many events, people, and things in general that have happened in our family, I thought it’d be special for everyone to write it all out. It’ll be a snapshot of gratitude.
Who doesn’t need a little dose of that?
Like this year’s Christmas Bucket List, our DIY Gratitude Sign only uses craft paper and markers. To make it a little more special, I used some left overs fall elements from a centerpiece.
Then, just add tape to the back and it’s ready to go.
I added the first three items to the list: family, health, and laughter.
After looking at it, I decided to add my name to the sign too. Hopefully all my family will so we can all see what everyone says.
I think this will be a beautiful tradition for my family. It’s something I want to do with Mila as she gets older. Even if she’s not in a positive space, I want her to know that I’m always thankful for her. Plus, sometimes the things you’re most thankful for are ‘small.’
This simple and easy to make gratitude sign will make a big impact on Thanksgiving Day.
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and holds their loved ones close this year and for as long as they can.
With that, I know so many people grieving through the holidays. They are so hard. I miss Jensen everyday and am so thankful that he was in my life. No matter if you can’t think of anything else to be thankful for, I know a name can be powerful. Write and say your loved ones names.
I know anytime I hear Jensen’s name, I’m so thankful others are thinking of him. I’ll never be able to thank him and Mila for choosing me to be their mom.
How do you talk about gratitude during the holidays? Do you have a tradition like this? Let me know in the comments.
Quirky Turkeys don’t always have feathers, sometimes they have spots. At least that’s what Mila says. This easy craft is perfect if you run out of feathers or just want to give your child a simple turkey craft.
Plus, It turns out really abstract, which makes this one of my favorite turkeys of the year!
As I’ve said over and over again, I try to find crafts and activities that are easy for Mila to do by herself. This gives me time to clean or cook a dish for Thanksgiving. It also promotes her being independent and in turn it helps her with her confidence. Little ones need all the confidence to get by in the world.
For this activity, we only used a few things. That means it was SUPER simple to set up for her… and me!
To start off, I made a turkey head and face. I used cardboard from a box, googly eyes, and random scrapbook/construction paper that I had leftover. Your child could have also made a turkey face too.
Then, I unscrewed the tops of the bingo markers and told her to make the turkey’s feathers with them.
I actually love using bingo markers in crafts and activities. They aren’t very messy, unless your child goes wld with them. They also are pretty cheap. I found these at the dollar store and we’ve had them for quite a while. Plus, there’s a lot of different colors you can find!
The only other thing I instructed Mila to do was to fill up the background. You could also have your kids sort the colors or do different numbers of dots for more learning.
When I look at her last quirky turkey of the year, I keep seeing a rainbow in the background. I don’t think she meant to do it like this, it just feels really symbolic. All her turkeys this year have been so great. As always, I’m just so proud of her.
This is another activity you can easily do before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day. I hope if you do, your child loves it as much as Mila did!
What are your favorite turkey or Thanksgiving inspired crafts? If you have any links, please feel free to post them in the comments. I’d love to share and maybe do them next year too!
If you’re looking for more crafts that Mila and I have done for Thanksgiving, here they are: