The Christmas Gift They’ll Be Talking About All Year

We all want to be the one that gifts THAT gift – the one that is truly enjoyed ALL year long.  The one that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.  And, if you’re a mom like me, you want it to be something that your kids had a hand in making.  When I finished making our 2015 calendar in November (the day before Thanksgiving, literally… I was down to the wire, ya’ll…), I told my mom and my bff… “friends don’t let friends make a calendar like this EVER again.”  And “don’t EVER let me think I can do this kind of project again.  I might go crazy.”  So why am I sharing this EPIC project here, and already saying I’m doing one again this year?

Because it’s January.  And by starting NOW on this project, I have the whole year to get it done!!  (Thanks, Mom and Rena for the encouragement to do this again!!!)  And so do you.  And the best part for you – I’ll be giving you various art ideas all year as we do them, so you’ll be able to follow along right behind us and make your own amazing, EPIC calendar for 2016!

Inspired by artist/author Eric Carle, we did a wide variety of art – painting, chalks, markers, etc on sheets of textured card stock, and then I cut the papers to make a collage for each month.  Becca helped glue the pieces down, and selected Washi tape for each picture.  (She’s a little Washi obsessed… just like Mommy.)  Then, I scanned each picture into my computer, and printed the pictures out on our color printer.  By scanning, I was able to make an awesome cover, which has a preview of each month.  Then I printed out calendar blanks and typed up a sheet that explains what type of art is included on each collage.  I used photo splits to attach the sheets to each other (fronts to backs), then laminated and comb bound each calendar.

Here are some close-up photos to give you some ideas for your 2016 calendar!  Plus, later this year, I’ll share a FREE printable set of 2016 calendar blanks, so you don’t even have to worry about creating those – just start working on your art, and I’ll help walk you through creating this calendar for the important folks in your kids’ lives!

Plus, throughout the year, as we do our art, I’ll give you ideas for how to modify this activity to involve more than one child – so don’t think you have to worry about making a calendar from each child!  There are ways to make some months be a collage of art from each child, and then also making certain months especially just from one specific child in your family (perfect if they don’t share the same birthday month – let them be the star of their own month!)  And yes, baby Grayson will be taking part in making the art for 2016.  (Again, I may be slightly off my rocker… but I think it’ll be worth it in the end!!)

SO – check back next Friday for your first art project… we’re ready to make our February collage, and so are you!  (Yes, we may not do our collages in order… we’re full force excited about Valentine’s Day around here… so we’ve got February done already!)

Please note – due to the fact that the family members who will receive our calendar read my blog, we’ll give you art ideas and show photos of our sheets of painted paper, but will not be posting photos of the finished collages.  Gotta keep something a surprise for Christmas! (And I want you guys to be original in your collage ideas…)  Next January, I’ll be asking for photos of your finished calendars… and feel free to share your photos of completed activities you’ve done inspired by my blog ANYTIME by sending me an email: Please be sure to put on your email if I can share your photos on my Facebook page.


IMG_0589 IMG_0591   IMG_0590 IMG_0582IMG_0583 IMG_0586IMG_0588 IMG_0585IMG_0581 IMG_0587IMG_0584 IMG_0580

2014 Advent Activities


Well, it’s finally here.  My advent activities post.  I know some of you were really hoping to see this last week so you’d have more time to prep.  So I apologize for the delay… but sometimes you just gotta prioritize… and sleep is really important for this mama!  HA!

I’m super excited for these activities – and I really appreciate the advice that my dear hubby gave me – to not over-do my planning because I don’t want to wear myself out.  So, instead of doing a service activity every single day, I included some of our family activities that we were already planning, as well as some super simple things that will take just a few minutes to do so that I avoid burnout.  Here are the activities we’ll be doing (though they are randomized on this list since some folks will read this who will be recipients of our projects, and we don’t want them to know what day to expect our good cheer)… feel free to “steal” any of these ideas for your own kiddos!

Advent Ideas
1st – Make and deliver two snowman neighbor gifts (UPDATE: link now corrected, sorry!).  (This we actually ARE doing on the 1st because you want to get this started EARLY in the month – click the link to get all the info, FREE printables, etc do do this yourself!!)
Make a pretty snow picture for our babysitters.
Bake breads to give to people.
Make a Christmas card for the mailman.
Read “A Letter to Santa” and write a Letter to Santa! (USPS Santa Letter Info here)
Bake cookies to share. (Daddy’s work, cookie exchange, and other friends)
Go to Target and select one new toy for the toy run.
Participate in the Christmas PJ Toy Run.
Read a Christmas book.
See what happens when we put candy canes in water.
Build a Gingerbread house.
Kid’s Christmas party for Daddy’s work!
Make a special Christmas card and mail to Grandma and Grandpa.
Make a music video singing a Christmas carol and send to Mamie and Pappy and Granny and PawPaw.
Help make cards/stuff baskets of food for hungry families with our MOPS friends.
 Make a Christmas card for her MOPS teacher
Deliver Christmas presents at MOPS!
Go visit Santa (as a whole family).
Make a bird feeder and put out for the birds. (Some great bird feeder ideas here)
Sing Christmas carols as loud as you can!
Take donuts to the nurses at the hospital.
Bake gingerbread men and decorate!
Go to Sea World and play in the snow!
Take breads and cookies out to the farm.
The Set-UpIMG_0605
Obviously, you can chose any way to get the point across of what activity you’ll do when.  You can write activities on popsicle sticks and draw them out randomly.  You can use toilet paper rollers to do all kinds of super cute things (like I originally intended to do – check out my numerous pins here – but it takes a long time to collect 25 toilet paper rollers!!)  Or, you can do what I ended up doing – and put each paper slip in an envelope.  I had these kraft round labels already, so I went on the Avery website and designed some simple labels (Click HERE to download your FREE copy of these December labels! – print on Avery product number 22808, or print on plain paper and cut with a paper cutter in whatever shape you prefer).  I use PicMonkey regularly, and used their designs to create my slips.  Then I simply covered clothespins with Washi tape I already had to make a pattern.  I removed our artwork from our art wall and used the same wire to hang up the envelopes, and then simply placed a December calendar (artwork I also created on PicMonkey, free download available below) inside our frame where the Picasso quote normally hangs.  So when we pull from the envelope, we will also use a dry erase marker to mark off the date on the calendar – part of our math calendar time daily activity.