Hanukkah Collage with Melissa and Doug Dot-A-Dot Markers


As Hanukkah approaches I am trying to think of fun activities that my boys can try this year and we haven’t done before. We have never made a Hanukkah menorah with removable flames. The idea behind this is that each night of Hanukkah the boys can safely “light” their menorah.  My boys can do this in conjunction with us actually lighting our home menorah and feel an active part of the tradition rather than just an observer.

If you are not familiar with the menorah lighting, there are eight candles that are lit during the holiday of Hanukkah. One candle is lit each night for a total of eight nights. There is a helper candle that is often located in the middle of the menorah called a shemash. The shemash is the first candle lit and it is used to like the other candles each night.  During the lighting there is a blessing set of the candles to celebrate specifically the holiday of Hanukkah and the tradition of lighting a candle each night.  Along with the blessing, our family sings many traditional songs in Hebrew or English each night. It’s really a special part of the day that separates regular day today life and the holiday for us. As we continue on going to school, running errands, and working during this holiday we come home each night to light the candles which gives us a feeling of celebration.

To start creating our menorah poster with removable flames I use painter’s tape and taped out the shape of the menorah on white card stock. It’s really important with painter’s tape to use a thick and study paper, so I highly recommend card stock for this project.  Then I had my boys use their Melissa and Doug Dot-A-Dot Markers to add color.  When they were finished I remove the painter’s tape and the shape of the menorah came out white.


Just the painter’s tape menorah was a beautiful project on its own, but to take it another step further I decided to create removable flames.  We cut out from orange and red card stock flame shapes. The red flame was used for the shemash candle, and was a little bit larger in size than the other eight flames. Then I used a Velcro dots on each claim as I attached them to the paper with the boys.  I would recommend if you have a laminating machine available to you to laminate the poster before adding the Velcro flames. You could also use contact paper. This would make the poster reusable for years to come.  I however, do not have these items available to me right now so I did not do that.  I will just have to be careful to remove the flames gently each night and have the boys attach them only.


If you follow me on Instagram, make sure to look out for the boys lighting their menorah posters each night.  Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah Sugar Cookie Decorating Party for Toddlers

For a recent play date my friend and I decided to make sugar cookies and let the kids decorate them. Neither one of us have made sugar cookies before, so through trial and error we were able to figure out a recipe that worked. Our first attempt at dough came out too crumbly. Once we got the dry and wet ingredient ratio worked out we had a buttery, smooth cookie dough.

Recipe for Sugar Cookies:

Ingredients

2 1/3 c. flour, sifted

1 tbsp. vanilla pudding mix

1 c. white sugar

1 large egg

2 sticks of butter-room temperature

Directions:

First we combined dry ingredients and then added the wet using a stand alone mixer on medium. We mixed them together for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides.

Once the ingredients were combined we kneaded with our hands for five minutes and then rolled it to 1/4″ thickness using a rolling pin. We used metal dreidel shaped cookie cutter to cut out our shapes.

The cookies baked in a 350 degree oven for 9 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Once cooled we could begin adding our colorful royal icing.

Recipe for Royal Icing:

Ingredients:

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

4 tbsp. milk

Directions:

Pour sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl, add milk. Whisk together until smooth. Spoon into 3 small bowls, add one drop of food coloring and mix to create blue and gold.

We laid out a easy wipe tablecloth with a festive print, a paper plate for each child, small bowls with the royal icing, one bowl with Star of David sprinkles, and tiny spoons for decorating.  The children decorated each cookie one by one, spooning one the icing and creating a marble effect.

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This activity was a hit!  The kids were involved with each step of the baking and decorating process.  They loved decorating the cookies the most-each child decorated 10 cookies!  We had so much fun and will definitely be doing more cookie and baking activities with our kids for future holidays!

How I Decorated for Hanukkah

After I made my Eight Posts for Hanukkah my house is full of blue and chalkboard and burlap. So I decided I would do a post to show you how all of these crafts have come together as decorations in my home for the holiday. A lot of people don’t do more than just a Menorah and fine china or maybe a small decoration on their door. I want to show you how I was able to  add a lot of decorations for very little money and really give my home the feeling of the holiday.

how-hanukkah

A candle lighting station with family photos, my Shabbat candlesticks, and my Menorah.

A handprint/footprint Menorah apron I made with my boys. I posted about it earlier.

I have Hanukkah towels and pot holders that add a festive touch to my kitchen.

My casual Hanukkah table decor.

Once the holiday comes I will do a full Hanukkah tablescape and share that with you. I am listing the tutorials for all the DIY projects below.

Chalkboard Hanukkah Wreath

Handprint Menorah Apron

Burlap Pocket Banner

Chalkboard Countdown Sign

Snowflake Decoration

Pinecone Centerpiece

The Best DIY Teacher Gifts On Pinterest (Approved By A Teacher!)

 

As an art teacher and art club organizer for 17 years I didn’t receive a lot of holiday gifts over the years, nor did I expect it.  Who has money to spend on all of their kids teachers?  When I did get presents it really meant a lot to me and I treasured every DIY gift I got because I truly believe it came from the heart.  I have enjoyed researching DIY teacher gifts on Pinterest so much this weekend and I thought I would share my  5 favorites with you.  You can click the images to be linked directly to the pin.

 

  1. I found this on Craft with Angel and thought it really elevated the crayon wreath idea.  I would hang this in my classroom all year long!

teacher wreath.. bought the stuff to make this with Landon for Mrs Nicholson! hopefully we'll get it done this week!:

2.What teacher doesn’t want cute supplies? From Scraps of Shirlee.

Scraps of Shirlee: school supply cake teacher appreciation gift:

 

3. I’m dying to make this when I go back to teaching as my daily tote! From G is For Gift.

Teacher Appreciation Gift:  Decorate a canvas tote bag - the link is broken but the photos look pretty self explanatory. (I wouldn't just limit it to a tote either...this would make a great bandana or scarf print etc etc):

 

4. Such a nice gift to remember that amazing class! From So Festive.

Apple Themed Teacher Gifts   Free Printables:

 

5. I love the chalkboard pots idea and think of all the gifts you could put inside!  From Snowman Crafts. Co.

Thanks for helping me Grow | 20 + DIY Christmas Gifts for Teachers From Kids:

I hope these give you a little inspiration and imagination to go out and make something special for the grown ups who make your kids’ day special.

Snowflake DIY 

I am a huge fan of What’s Up Mom’s. I love all of their videos and their really happy energy. They definitely influenced my decision to become a blogger. So here is one of their DIY projects from their YouTube channel that I tried out. You can see their tutorial here.

I tried having Ben paint the popsicle sticks first and he was not at all interested. So then it dawned on me to have him paint the finished product. I built the snowflake but every time I built it I noticed that one end was a little bit crooked or one of the sides was not parallel to another side. I was popping off popsicle sticks left and right and starting over. Even now as it’s finished I still see areas that could use a little tweaking.

 I would  recommend if you’re going to do this project to do it on some sort of a grid or on a table with straight edges that you can better plan out your snowflake and make sure that everything is straight and parallel. I also recommend using wood glue, it dried faster than Elmer’s glue all.

If a child is helping you paint the snowflake-turn areas that could use paint towards them so they can reach new areas easily.

Overall I think our snowflake came out really nicely.  It’s definitely a craft for home or small groups with large work areas.  A classroom desk would not be enough space for the finished snowflake.

What blogs or vlogs influence you?Please share your answers,

Eight Posts for Hanukkah Bonus-Rustic Pinecone Dreidel Centerpiece

This is where my pinecone dreidels wound up.  I had been thinking of stringing them together to make a garland, but I came across this metal pail and got inspired.  I wrapped the bottom of the pain and handle with twine, securing with hot glue.  I also used the twinevto tie little bows around my dreidels.  I took a wooden round piece and painted it with chalkboard paint and drew a Menorah with chalkboard marker.  I’m really pleased with it and can’t wait to put in my Hanukkah tablescape!

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Footprint/Handprint Art Apron

I like to do keepsake crafts on holidays with my baby boys. Footprint art is an easy first art experience to do with a baby. I did handprints with Ben because he’s two and a little bit more mature -he has had some experiences with art. As Adam is less than one I only used his footprint.

Footprints and handprints can get really messy so I like to set up my station with wipes right next to me, lots of paper towels, and making sure that all the surfaces around my baby are easily washable.  To make the menorah I painted Adams feet blue and his toes yellow. I painted and printed each foot separately and I did it as quickly as possible. Are used a good fit come out of paint on the flat so as to make sure it doesn’t dry before I got my footprint.

I like Martha Stewart craft paint because it can be used on several surfaces and it won’t flake off after it’s been through a wash

Afterwards,  I did touch up the footprints a little bit with a small paintbrush. Then I printed Ben’s hands underneath using a darker shade of blue and the same yellow on his fingertips.

Using an oil paint based Sharpie marker I wrote their names and ages next to their prints.  I also wrote the year. Underneath their handprints and footprints I wrote “My Little Miracles!” I can’t wait to wear this when I making latkes this year and for many more to come!

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-3 DIY Wreaths for $15 or Less!

three-wreathsEvery year I look for quality Hanukkah decorations in stores and I can’t find anything good.  So this year I decided to craft my dream Hanukkah decorations and to do it on a shoestring budget since I’m currently a stay at home mom.  One item I’ve long dreamed about is a beautiful wreath for my front door.  Online-I think because they’re so rare-they can be quite pricey.  Here are 3 DIY wreaths and each  cost less than $15 to make.

For this easy wreath I purchased the straw wreath base at Savers, the ribbon at Dollar Tree, the chalkboard paint and wooden rounds came from Michaels.  This time of year there are lots of sales at the craft stores-so it’s definitely good to do a lot of craft shopping now.  To start with I used my hot glue gun to hold the white and burlap ribbons down as I wrapped them around the base.  Then I painted chalkboard paint on the wooden rounds, once dry I wrote Happy Hanukkah with chalk marker.  I got glued them on and added a twine loop to hang.  Easy and cheap!  Took me less than an hour to make!

I found the base for my second wreath at Savers as well.  This is an upcycling project.  It was a plain burlap wreath on a wire base.  First thing I did was spray paint it with 4 coats of silver spray paint.



I took white and silver tulle I picked up at the Dollar Tree and knotted 4″ pieces every 3″ apart on the wire base. I also found blue wire edged ribbon at the Dollar Tree that I cut into 4″ pieces and I knotted them every 3″ apart around the wire base.


My friend Anat brought a Hanukkah garland with blue and silver foil Hanukkah decorations held together by silver jump rings.  We took it apart and I glued some of the dreidels onto the tulle and I added six silver ornaments that were purchased at the Dollar Store as well.


The last wreath I’m going to give instructions for is one made by my friend, Anat. She found most of her materials at Walmart.

She used a wire base and she attached tulle and ribbon to it using pipe cleaners to secure every 4″. Lastly, she used a happy Hanukkah signed she found it $.99 store last year as a focal point at the center of the wreath and added a little silver flower that she also picked up at the Dollar Tree.


The most time consuming wreath was the second one with the burlap because it took several hours to apply the silver spray paint and allow it to dry between coats.  All of these wreaths are no sew and were assembled simply with a glue gun.

 

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Rustic Chalkboard Countdown Sign

As promised I will be incorporating a lot of rustic elements in my Hanukkah DIY projects.  This is another easy project-but it does take some art skills.  

You’ll need:

chalkboard paint

a wooden sign

painters’ tape

chalkboard markers

a sponge tip brush

chalk

To start: I taped off the area of the sign I wanted to paint. Then I applied  1 even coat of chalkboard paint.  



Then I activated my chalkboard markers by pressing in the tip several times and free handed the letters.  Underneath I drew the menorah.  I tried to draw flames, but the slats got in the way so I just repainted over them with a small brush.  Many chalkboard markers are permanent, so if you make a mistake you have to paint over it.  This morning I told Ben that Hanukkah is coming up and we drew the number of nights on together.  I told him the number in Hebrew and English. He has been learning how to count in both languages.  We also talked about how 10 and 9 make 19.  He liked drawing with the chalk on the sign.  


I added a burlap and a wire edged ribbon tied in a knot, trimming the ends.  Now I need to make something to count the actual nights of Hanukkah!