Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Stuff: Book Tree, Sugar Scrub, Fudge, Gift Wrap, Writing Prompt.

My first attempt. Next year I might buy extra books at the library sale ($1.00 a bag on the last day) and make a bigger tree. The topper is a White House Christmas ornament, displayed in its box, using a plate holder.
Easy Hypo-allergenic Tree:  choose large, heavy books which are approximately the same width. Build a platform. Start stacking books in a ring, each ring consecutively smaller but with book corners jutting out to resemble branches. Drape with lights and place ornaments in nooks and crannies.  Don't have a lot of space? Build a half tree by stacking books (like bricks) straight up against the wall, then form a half-ring of books in front. To disassemble:  invite friends over for a rousing game of Jenga, the Book Tree Version.

Easy Homemade Sugar Scrub For Gifts:  this is a great activity for kids. We used this as a holiday craft with some special-needs classrooms. It's also non-toxic, in case you have children with a penchant for eating what they're not supposed to.

1 cup granulated cane sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (In a rush? You can substitute olive oil if you don't have time to shop for coconut oil, although the result will be a little runnier.)
10 to 15 drops of essential oil. (In a rush? You can substitute food extracts like vanilla, lemon or orange)
Mix well and store in container. (Glass is not a good idea since this will be used in the bathroom more than likely.)

Easy Homemade Fudge:  another activity that kids can help with and give as gifts.

3 cups chocolate chips (or broken up plain chocolate bars in a pinch)
14 oz can Eagle sweetened condensed milk (plain milk won't cut it, sorry)
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

Grease 8 x 8 pan.
Put chocolate, milk and butter in microwaveable container. (Split ingredients in half and use 2 bowls if you have a small microwave.)
Microwave at 40 sec intervals, stirring each time, until everything is mixed, melted and smooth.
Add vanilla and salt. Stir.
You can now add nuts if you'd like. Or try quartered maraschino cherries.
Pour into pan, spread smoothly. Top with a few holiday sprinkles if you want.
Refrigerate 2-3 hours before cutting into squares.

Easy And Cool Homemade Gift Wrap:  
Have kids color and draw pictures on computer paper for small gifts. Or...

XEROX has free printable holiday cards and templates
Brit + Co has free printable gift wrap, and so does
The Elli Blog

Easy Holiday Writing Prompt:
Got a child in the family? If you're a writer, a great gift would be a personalized little story.
Prompt:  The child is lost in the forest while the family is looking for a Christmas tree.  Do the animals help him/her find the family? Maybe they celebrate Christmas together. How do the animals keep him/her warm, and what presents do they give each other?

Whatever holiday you are celebrating this season, I hope that it is happy and memorable.