Friday, December 2, 2016

DIY Crystal Snowflakes

So my daughter came home from her science 4H class with a cool little snowflake that she had made. Right away I knew I needed to make more for our Christmas tree.
Note: This was originally posted back in 2012 - I thought it might be fun to do again with my younger kids and thought I'd share it again with you.

 I don't know the science behind it, but these little snowflakes are amazing.

 These are quite easy to make and if you're like me you'll already have the supplies on hand. That's my favorite kind of project!

Want to make your own Crystal Snowflakes?

Here's what you need:
white pipe cleaners
wire cutters {or old scissors that you don't care about}
wide mouth pint mason jar
food coloring {optional}

Start by cutting your pipe cleaner into thirds. Take two pieces and make an x. Then wrap one around the other. Repeat with the other piece to make a snowflake shape. Tie the string onto one of the ends.
Place it in the mason jar to figure out where to tie the string to the pencil. You don't want the snowflake to touch the sides or the bottom of the jar or else it will become crystallized to the jar. I trimmed the ends a little bit so it would fit better. Once you have the snowflakes hanging in the center of the jar, remove them.

Fill the jar with boiling water. Add food coloring, if desired. Add 6 T. borax to pint jars. {or 12 T. to quart jars} Stir until dissolved. I found it was easier to pour some borax into a bowl for the kids to measure out.

Then place your snowflake back in the jar. Make sure that it's not touching the sides or bottom of the jar.

Now comes the hard part. You have to wait overnight for the crystals to form.

I pulled them out the next morning and put them on a paper towel to dry.  You can see that the blue one is just lightly colored. We used probably 12 drops of food coloring. The kids thought this was really cool. I did too. I've made quite a few for the tree and am still going to make a few more.

So what do you do when your jar has crystals all over the bottom? Here's the trick. Pour a little boiling water in it and grab a fork to scrape the bottom a little and they'll come right off. Sometimes it will come out with super hot tap water too.

I had a hard time finding borax, but finally found it at Walmart. The two local grocery stores didn't have it. It's in the laundry soap aisle.

I may try them with colored pipe cleaners. It might give it kind of a frosted look. I love projects like this. You can mess around with different things. If it doesn't work, oh well...since it doesn't cost much.

 I honestly cannot get over how pretty these are. I can just imagine the Christmas lights bouncing off those little crystals once I get the tree up.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Light the World Advent Calendar

I love advent calendars! We have several at our house, but when I saw the movement my church is making this Christmas season, I knew I needed to make another advent calendar to help myself and my family get involved. It's called #Light the World. It focuses on doing as Jesus would do. Each day there's a new challenge to help motivate us to DO something good. See the full details at 

This morning I stumbled across a couple free printables that gave me an idea to create an advent calendar. It's pretty easy - just print, cut, glue and find a place to hang them. It's a good thing it's easy, because the challenge starts Dec 1st! 

Light the World Advent Calendar

Begin by printing off the free printables. In order for the daily challenges to fit onto the back of the stockings I had to adjust the print size. I printed the stockings at 120% and the daily challenges at 85%. I opted to print the calendar in black and white.
Print the Light the World Calendar here. Scroll to the bottom of the downloads and you'll find the calendar.
Print the Stockings here. The download is towards the bottom of her post. You'll need to print multiple copies to have 25 stockings.

Light the World Advent Calendar

 Next, cut everything out.

Light the World Advent Calendar

Then glue the calendar prompts onto the back of the stockings.

Light the World Advent Calendar

  I hung some twine on the fireplace and each day as we complete our acts of service we'll hang a stocking.

Light the World Advent Calendar
I'm always trying to figure out how to make Christmastime more meaningful for our family - to help the kids realize that it's not about the presents they want. It's about giving and serving others. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed with big service projects, so I'm going to keep it simple and try to impact others in small but significant ways. I hope to teach my kids that they can help others. Even though they're young they can share what they have, they can be kind, and they can reach out to others. I think that participating in Light the World will help us to do this this year. Join me!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to Make a Measuring Spoon Rack from Barn Wood

My Grandpa was a sheep rancher. When he passed away, we grabbed a few pieces of old barn wood from his property.  I have been holding onto it for a couple years, just waiting for the perfect project. It seems fitting that a small piece of it now resides in my kitchen, because my Grandma was known for her cooking. So each time I look at and use this rustic measuring spoon rack, I am reminded of both my Grandpa and my Grandma. I have such fond memories of them both.

This post has affiliate links - that means if you click on a product link, I'll receive a small commission should you make a purchase.

How to Make a Measuring Spoon Rack


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