7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

It was Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Valentines Day back to back!  It went so fast that for all I know, it could have all been smashed within 2 weeks! Whew… Time to finally get a holiday break…. oh, wait…

Easter will be here before you know it!  Sunday, April 1st!  That’s right, April Fools and Easter are colliding!  Beware!

One of everyone’s favorite crafts at Easter is decorating eggs. Who doesn’t love a good messy holiday craft?

I’m going to give you some fun alternatives from the newbie to the novice!

Getting started – egg prep

You can decorate eggs two different ways, hard boiled or empty…please don’t decorate raw eggs and let them spoil…I’ve seen it happen more than once, so I think a disclaimer is necessary at this point!

For hard boiled eggs, place in a pot and cover with water 2 inches above the eggs.  Turn stove to high and let it reach a strong boil.  Turn off, cover, and let sit for 12-13 minutes. Gently remove the eggs and run under cold water or dunk into an ice water bath to discontinue cooking.

For empty eggs, poke a hole on both ends of the egg with a seam ripper or toothpick.  The hole will need to be about the size of four toothpick holes combined. Insert the toothpick and swirl around to break up the yolk.  Gently blow through one hole and watch the yolk come out the other side.

1. Traditional Dye

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Traditional Dye

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Traditional Dye

I find that clear, disposable cups or rocks glasses work best so you can see the water level, the color, and it’ll be open enough to easily insert an egg…however, this can be very messy…but it’s craft time!  Get messy!

Boil a pot of water and get out your measuring cup.

Put about 1 to 1 1/2 cups hot water into each container. (Enough to cover an egg)

Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar (this ensures that the color really seeps in and sticks quickly).

Add in your food coloring.

The darker and more vibrant you want, the more drops you’ll need.

You shouldn’t have to add more than 20 drops of coloring to each container (for the new fangled gel dyes, I usually do 2 generous squirts).  Use all one color or mix and match to come up with bright turquoise, purple, magenta and more.

For traditional dye, use a whisk instead of a little wire or spoon for unsteady little hands.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Traditional Dye Crayon Whisk

2. Marble with Nail Polish

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Nail Polish Marble

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Nail Polish Marble

Get a disposable cup or container full of cold water.

Drip different nail polish colors on top.

Create patterns with a toothpick.

Slowly dip the eggs to pick up the pattern.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Nail Polish Marble

3. Crayon & Dye

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Crayon and Traditional Dye

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Crayon and Traditional Dye

Draw with a white crayon.

Dye like normal and see the designs magically appear.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Traditional Dye Crayon Whisk

4. Fabric or Tissue Paper (or feathers… or yarn)

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Paper Covered, Yarn, Feathers, Fabric

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Paper Covered, Yarn, Feather, Fabric

Paint Mod Podge onto both sides of the fabric or paper.

Lay onto the egg as flat as possible.

Do a top coat of Mod Podge.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Fabric Paper Yarn Feathers

5. Glitter

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Glitter

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Glitter

Cover eggs with Mod Podge.

Roll in a glitter bath.  (I prefer disposable bowls so you can roll them with minimal mess)

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Glitter Mod Podge

6. Marbled with Cream

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Shaving Cream Marble

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Shaving Cream Marble

This is my favorite!

Soak eggs in vinegar for 5 minutes in order for them to take on as much color as possible.

Throw out a thick coat of shaving cream and smooth (or cool whip if your play needs to be edible).

Drop food coloring and gently make designs by pushing into cream with a toothpick or spoon (don’t over mix).

Roll eggs in creamy design.

Let eggs sit in fridge for 30 minutes.

Rinse under cool water.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Shaving Cream Marble

7. Silk Dye

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Silk Dying

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Silk Dye

For advanced egg decorators!  This works best with empty eggs so you have to be very careful (hence the “advanced”).

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Empty Eggs

Grab an old silk tie or silk scarf.

Cut the silk fabric large enough to wrap around the egg and be tied off.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Silk Dye

Cut a light, plain colored fabric the same size.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Silk Dye

Dunk silk fabric in water (wring out excess).

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Silk Dye Wet Fabric

Wrap wet silk fabric around egg.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Silk Dye

Wrap your dry, light colored fabric around the silk fabric.

Make tight and tie all loose ends with twine.

Place bundled up eggs in a gallon of boiling water.

Add 3/4 cup vinegar.

Boil for 30 minutes.

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Silk Dye

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs silk dye

Unwrap and let dry.

CAUTION: Because eggs are hollow, they will be filled with hot water!


Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Dyed Deviled Eggs

Hard boil eggs and let cool.

Roll to crackle the shells but DO NOT PEEL!!

Drop into glasses of water with food coloring.

(You’ll want to use water with food coloring so it’s taste safe and delicious.  Don’t go with traditional egg dye or vinegar dye!)

Refrigerate overnight.

THEN peel off the shells for crackled deviled egg treats!

Fill with traditional egg filling or guacamole!

Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs Deviled Eggs & Guac


Magical Mama Blog 7 Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

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15 New Year Resolutions for Moms

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

15 New Year’s Resolutions for Moms

  • Spend time with your husband

Once the kids move out, it’s just the two of you.  If you don’t put the work into keeping your bond strong while the kids are around, you’ll have an awfully big hole in your marriage once you’re alone.

Get out for date nights.  Have date nights in with the kids.  Tell your kids about how you met, your funny dating stories, how the proposal happened, about your wedding, etc.

Get dressed up every once in a while and treat yourselves to a fancy dinner and drinks.  Parenting is no walk in the park and you’ll get into a deeper and deeper hole the longer you wait to remember you are a couple, not just offspring raising robots.

  • Adopt “me time” into your schedule

Write down a designated time each week on the family calendar.  Just two or three hours.  Make Dad or a relative promise to keep the kids amused during that time.

Lock your self in the bathroom for a little self-spa day.  Bring in a laptop and charger. Bring in a lap top, charger, and your favorite chick flick.  Dye your hair, exfoliate and moisturize your while body, enjoy a bubble bath, shave your legs, pluck your eyebrows, give yourself a salon-status blow out…and most importantly…go to the bathroom by yourself.  No knocks, no fingers under the door… can you picture it?

Go to Target by yourself, throw in your headphones and listen to your favorite music while you browse.

Go to the mall and try on clothes.

Go get a mani-pedi or massage.

Go see a movie by yourself.

Have a wine night with your other mom friends.

Getting rid of your stresses and clearing your head will make you renewed.  I know after a mom afternoon, my patience is at a full refill, I have more energy, I am more positive, and much more relaxed.  It’s really a win for everyone.

  • Say “I Love You” multiple times each day

I don’t think you can say it too much.  Make sure your kids know how loved they are.  Give hugs and snuggles, words of affirmation and endless “I love you”s.

Make it the last thing you say to your kids and your husband each night.

Say it before you part ways.  (To get dark for a moment, if anything were to happen to anyone you love, wouldn’t you want the last thing you said to them to be “I love you!”)

  • Put down your electronics

Turn your devices off for a few hours…not to silent, not plugged in… just off.  Put them in another room, a drawer, a box, somewhere that no one will be constantly tempted.

Talk to each other, look at each other, hear each other, pay attention.  If you can’t imagine it, pretend it’s the 1950’s and none of these things existed.  What did people do back then?  Figure it out!

Challenge one another to do this for an amount of time every day.  Or pick an evening and turn it into an old school family gathering.

You don’t want your kids to grow up and only have memories with their phones, tablets, computers, and gaming systems.

  • Make experiences and memories

Get out of the house and stop buying junk.

It doesn’t have to cost you several paychecks to have a family outing.  Go to a local park or beach and have a picnic and play with frisbees, hoola hoops, a soccer ball, etc.

Head out for an evening walk as a family, get to know your neighbors as you walk by, enjoy the fresh air and exercise.

Go to your town’s holiday festivities.  Check the paper or your city’s website to see what is happening.  Check out the farmers market or a local concert in the park.

Check the Parks and Rec out in your community.  Maybe everyone can sign up for a class and learn something new.

If you’re going to spend money on something, make it an adventure instead of toys.  Take the kids to a water park instead of buying the latest toy.  They’re much more likely to remember a day with family than a toy.

  • Start family traditions

Start doing something special on each holiday, every few weeks, or once a week.

Pick an evening in December each year everyone has to keep open to go out as a family and look at Christmas lights.

Every other Saturday, have family game night.  At Christmas or borthdays, give each family member a new game.

Have a Valentines Day date night as a family.  Everyone dresses up and you go out together to a fancy restaurant.

Every Thursday, have the kids choose and make dinner.

Whatever works for your family, enforce traditions that can live on.

  • Take more pictures

It’s easier than ever to take pictures with smart phones all over.  But don’t force your kids to pose every day to capture them growing.  Take candid pictures.

Capture the kids playing together, when you pick them up in the mini van, when the family is playing a board game, the kids creating a fort.

When they look at these pictures later in life, let them remember what life was like, not the fancy, staged photos that happened in between the memories.

  • Implement family reading time

It has been shown that around 4th grade, kids have a drastic drop in reading ability and interest.  That likely correlates with parents stopping reading to their kids as soon as they can read on their own.

Buy books.  Go to a book store (while they still exist), let your kids discover authors they like and purchase whole collections.

Start a book club within your family.  Everyone can read a chapter of the same book over the week and can have a little cafe sit down talk about it.  Help them discover the lessons within reading.

Have your kids read the bed time story book to you.  Use it as a wind down before bed time.  Have one kid read a book aloud while the others (or the parents) act it out.

Make reading fun and keep them interested.

  • Slow down your hello’s and good bye’s

Instead of your kid running past you in the kitchen yelling “bye” over their shoulder, stop  what you’re doing for (literally) 10 seconds to get a bear hug, kiss on the forehead, and an “I love you”.

When your kids walk in the door after school, get up and give them a hug, ask about their day, see what their needs and wants are.  The more we slow down and take in one another, the more we’ll be on the same page and ready to handle anything.

If you’re running late, 10 seconds isn’t going to hurt. Give a hug and a proper goodbye.  Let your loved ones know that they are your first priority.

  • Eat healthier

Jump on board with meal planning at least a few nights a week.  If you already have every ingredient and it has an expiration date, you’re much more likely to make a meal than go out and spend money on food that may not be fresh.

Get the sweets out of sight and go for healthy snacks to have around.

Drink water.  Every time you go to the store, you should be grabbing a case of water if you’re grabbing a 12 pack of soda.  Make sure your kids are hydrated and not drinking unnecessary calories and syrups.

When you’re eating well, you’re feeling well.  Get your whole family off to a good start and start these habits young!

  • Work on your patience

Talk to your partner, or even your kids, about patience.  Come up with a phrase to say to one another when you start to lose it.

“Let’s take 5 minutes, then start over.”

“Breathe in for 10 seconds, hold for 10 seconds, exhale for 10 seconds.”

“Let’s keep talking, but let’s use monster voices.”

Patience is a hard thing to keep up when you live in a crazy house and a crazy world.  We can’t control everything and sometimes we lose control in ourselves.

It helps to have people that love you let you know that you need to take a look around and that this will pass.

I would much rather have my husband tell me to breathe when I’m getting crazy than to blow up and regret it later.

We can all use help every once in a while.

  • Write down the special little moments

There are 525,600 minutes per year…in 18 years, that’s 9,460,800 minutes.

There’s no way you’re going to remember all of those minutes with each child.

Grab yourself a few journals or set up an e-mail address.

Write down the funny thing your 3 year old said today.

Write down what your kids fought about today.

Take a tally of how many times your 10 year old asked “are we there yet?” on the cross-country road trip.

These are the things you can look back at when they’re graduating high school or getting married that will make you smile.  (I’m sure you could also help yourself with some embarrassing material to use when your teenager is giving you the run around)

  • Use the dining room table

We’re all guilty of getting cozy on the couch and watching TV while we eat a meal.

Set the table, put the electronics away, turn the TV off, and sit down as a family.

Have each person talk about their day, relax, discuss the events you have coming up, make plans for a fun adventure.

It is so important to put each family members’ little world on hold and to reunite as a family.  Use the expensive table you bought and decorate for fancy occasions.

If it’s a matter of not wanting to do dishes and clean up, throw a dollar store plastic tablecloth down and use paper plates and red solo cups.

Get into the habit of having meals as a family and stick to it!

  • Remove what you don’t need

Go through your closets, offices, garage, etc. Get the clutter out of your home.  Everything can have a place, everyone can know where everything belongs and won’t have an excuse for not putting things away.

Get rid of toys.  Kids don’t need much to amuse them…at least they didn’t in the days of yore.  So your kids’ friends have the latest toy…yours will survive without it.  It is always a trend and it will always pass.  This is not life altering… do you still have your treasured Pogs? Pokemon Cards? Pet Rock?… didn’t think so.

Go through your social media accounts and delete the negativity.  Unfollow people who start political debates, people who share news stories that bring you down, people who post constant negativity.

Live a simple and happy life this year.  (Check out my 7 Day Declutter Challenge to clean out your home and your mind)

  • Be positive

When you’re going through a rough time, and don’t we all at some point each year, grin and bear it.

Try to find the silver lining in every situation.  Look forward to something better.  Take some deep breaths, figure out how to get out of your rut, figure out what you need, get help if you need it, and move up and move out!

If you have a group of people in quick sand, the positive person will hope for a solution, and make that come to fruition.  If your kids are struggling, let them know that you understand and that there is a way out of every sticky situation.


Let’s all implement at least one of these resolutions into your New Year.

I hope you strive to be the best mom for your kids and the best wife for your husband.

My wish for you is that you can the driving force for your family to be the best they can be this year.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

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Baby Safe Christmas Decor

Baby Safe Christmas Decor

Thanksgiving has passed and it’s time to decorate for the holidays…but you have some mischievous hands that can bring chaos to your festive decor.

There are two obvious options:

  1. Don’t decorate and let little one go about crawling, walking, and tugging on everything (already baby proofed) in your home.
  2. Decorate away and pray your child doesn’t break any heirlooms or pull a 9 foot tree on top of themselves.

I’ll be walking you through magical option 3!

3.  Make your house as festive as possible while keeping your little one and your expensive decor in one piece!

magical mama blog cabinet ribbons bows christmas decor decoration ribbons bows baby proof toddler prood safe

  • Kitchen Upper Cabinet Ribbons & Bows

Fancy up your cabinets with some fun holiday ribbons and bows.  Baby can’t reach it and it’s a lovely way to brighten up the place your family gathers so often.

magical mama blog christmas decor decorations garland kitchen cabinets ornaments baby proof toddler safe

  • Garland Above Kitchen Cabinets or Mantel

Throw your fun garland on the top edge of your upper kitchen cabinets or along your mantel.

If you’re forgoing a tree all together this year, this is a great way to display some ornaments and still get the evergreen and lights showing.

magical mama blog christmas village decor decoration baby proof toddler safe

  • Re-locate Your Christmas Village

If you have been collecting these expensive and traditional villages over the years, the last thing you want is for a piece to break.

Our normal placement is too close for comfort, so we are opting to throw all of those curious cords, choking hazard mini people, and breakable buildings in another room where there will be no temptation, but we can still enjoy it!

Even if you’re able to get it up high, check that whatever it is on top of is sturdy.  If you can wiggle it, pieces can break!  Triple check!

magical mama blog christmas decor decorations baby safe toddler proof stocking hanging hung mantel mantle

  • Raise Stockings with Boxes

Grab some small boxes and put some cans of food in them or wrap a stack of books.  The last thing you need is for baby to just get their finger tips on the end of a stocking and have a jagged, heavy, metal stocking hangar fall on them.

Be sure that even with their biggest reach they can’t go for them.  You don’t want heavy boxes falling on them either.  Every store has decorative boxes, but you can wrap just about anything around your house as long as it’s stable enough. (Let’s be real, how many Amazon boxes do you have laying around?)

magical mama blog stocking hang hung wall christmas decor decorations baby proof toddler safe

  • Relocate Stockings

Though the poem may say, “the stockings were hung by the chimney with care”, you don’t have to put them there!  Get out some 3M hooks and put each family member’s stocking on their bedroom door.  Or fill up an empty wall with those colorful giant socks!

magical mama blog christmas tree baby proof toddler safe

  • Block off Christmas Tree

If you’re able to get the Christmas tree in an area protected by baby gate, job well done.  For some home layouts, that’s just not ideal.  Try placing the tree in a corner with a couch on both sides and an ottoman blocking any holes.

If you’d like to spring for a baby gate that can connect to itself to go around the tree.

Get some large cardboard boxes (Amazon subscribe and save diaper boxes work great!), fill them with very heavy items and surround the tree with them.  The worst that can happen is baby unwrapping the boxes.

Grab an end table and throw your 5-6 foot tree right on top!  Be sure the little ones can’t reach the tree skirt or any stems to pull it down!

If you’re hard core and need your tree and don’t want any distractions, you may want to get yourself some baby safety furniture straps to connect the tree at least half way up to the wall so that if baby gets a hold of the tree, it’s not going to come down on top of them.

  • Shrink your Christmas Tree

If you’re used to 10 foot trees or artificial trees, perhaps wait until next year.  Head out to your local tree lot.  They will have a section of 2-3 foot trees or “tabletop trees”.

They’re a steal at a tree lot for usually about $10-$20. This way, you can get your tree, get the smell of fresh pine, decorate, and display it.  It will be on a smaller scale, but your peace of mind will be worth it.

Spring for a few baby trees and put one in each room.  Let your kids have a little tree on top of their dresser and let them make ornaments to decorate them.

OR grab some tomato cages and wrap in garland or decorative mesh and lights and decorate.  Place on table tops so no little hands can get them.

magical mama blog christmas decor decorations baby proof toddler safe door wreath

  • Hang Wreaths

Not only on your front door!  Throw some 3M hooks up on the other doors in your home or in the center of empty wall space and throw a festive wreath up!

  • String Garland up High

Grab some hooks and string your garland up over windows, or at your ceiling line.  It will bring a bit of bright light to dark corners and will be far away from mischievous hands.

magical mama blog misteltoe christmas decor decorations baby safe baby proof toddler proof

  • Hang Mistletoe

You can’t go wrong with mistletoe!  Hang it in  doorways or above doorways with some 3M temporary hooks.  It’s cute, sweet, and safe!

  • Hang Christmas Cards

Show off how loved your family is!  Grab some 3M hooks to hang some fun holiday ribbon by your front door.  Or hang ribbons in horizontal lines on the wall to create the illusion of a Christmas tree shape.

Grab a tomato cage at your local hardware or gardening store.  Stand on entry table or end table.  Pull stakes together and tie with decorative ribbon.  Use clothes pins to make a Christmas Card Tree.

magical mama blog snowflakes window curtain rod christmas decor decorations baby safe toddler proof

  • Hang Ornaments or Snowflakes in Windows

Have fun cutting out snowflakes as a family and hang them with fishing line or ribbon from the curtain rod of a window.  Make some Borax snowflakes to display.

If you’re choosing to skip the tree this year, display your ornaments in the windows strung by festive ribbon or fishing line.

  • Hang Christmas Lights in the Kids’ Rooms

Give your kids some holiday spirit.  Take a string of lights and some 3M hooks and put them away from wandering hands but where they can be enjoyed.  Read Christmas books by the light of them or use a small string of them as a night light.

magical mama blog ornaments christmas baby safe decor decorations toddler prood baby proof

  • Display Ornaments in Glass

If you’re not doing a Christmas Tree or you’re only decorating from the top to the middle, go to your local dollar store or craft store.  Pick up some large hurricane glasses or fishbowls and place your ornaments in them on the dining room table, a bookshelf, or counter top.


Now that your home is set for the holidays, start making memories!  Check out:

76 Fun Winter Activities for your Family

How To Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

How To Make Borax Snowflakes

Christmas Toy Guide for ages 1-3

The Ultimate Family Christmas Movie List

magical mama blog christmas decor baby safe proof toddler holiday

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76 Winter Activities for your Family

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

76 Winter Activities for your Family

So, you’re dreading pounding the pavement for Christmas shopping, family is arranging holiday plans, Christmas will be here before you know it.  Don’t get burnt out!

Grab the kids and make some memories!  Bring out the joy of Christmas!

38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family was such a hit, I had to go big for winter!

I’ll be sure to come back and update with pictures as we check things off the list!

Out of the House Activities – Snow or Sun!

  • Build a snowman

Within the last few years, I’m sure you’ve heard all the kids singing, “do you want to build a snowman?” from Frozen.  Say YES! Then let them enjoy their creative side while building and decorating.  Be sure to take an old scarf, buttons, carrot, hat, or whatever you have lying around!

  • Make snow angels

Make sure they’re bundled up tight and let them flop in the snow and see who can make an angel then stand up and leave no butt-print.

Better yet, have them create a scene full of snow angel people in different positions and interacting.  Be sure to have your camera out for the laughter that will, no doubt, ensue.

  • Have a snowball fight

Get ready for some serious competition!  Dodgeball with snow will get out every ounce of energy they have in them!

If you’re not somewhere with natural snow, take a day (or weekend) to visit the closest mountains to you.  If there’s no mountains for a day’s journey from you, pull your search engine up.  A lot of cities will have festivals that include ice skating, Santa, live reindeer, a field of machine-made snow, etc.  Go visit!

  • Build a sandman at the beach

If you’re in a climate that has the opposite of cold, head to the beach and make a snowman in the sand, complete with sunglasses and a beach towel scarf.  Then have the kids lay down for some sand angels!

Complete the day with writing Merry Christmas in the sand and taking a family photo then grab a bonfire pit and enjoy your weather!

  • Have a family photo shoot

Get those coordinated outfits together and hire your professional photographer.  OR save yourself time, money, and heartache by taking some fun group shots while you’re out… or in… creating memories!

Have everyone gather at the Christmas Tree lot, or snuggle up in PJs on the couch or in front of the tree as you decorate it.  Pull out the camera while everyone is covered in flour from making cookies and treats in the kitchen.

  • Go ice skating

If your town doesn’t have an ice rink on a regular basis, head to the internet for answers!  Pop-up ice rinks are increasingly popular.  A lot of cities are springing for them to enhance their town’s holiday festivities!

Find a nearby spot to grab desserts or hot cocoa after! Don’t forget extra socks!

  • Go on a nature walk

Even if you live in the middle of a concrete jungle, chances are there’s a big park or camp site somewhere near you.

Make a day of it and visit an out-of-town restaurant, visit a Christmas festival in another city and go for a hike in the fresh air and trees.

  • Drive & walk to look at Christmas lights

Post-Thanksgiving, most people will get their lights and decor up pretty quickly.  If your block doesn’t seem too festive, look up news articles for your town and the surrounding cities from last year and scout out headlines about Christmas decorations to pin point the good stuff.

Most times, there will be some sort of designated “Candy Cane Lane” in your town.  Some even have contracts to sign when you buy a house on a certain block that you must decorate for Christmas each year from a certain date to another.

One of my family’s traditions was to have all the kids jump in a truck bed (DO NOT do this!), drive over to Candy Cane Lane in our town while blasting music, singing carols, and wearing Santa hats. We would then go admire each house and see how they had out-done themselves from the year before.

I’m on the lookout for something similar to start a tradition in my new town!

  • Go sledding/tubing

Nothing says winter like an old fashioned sled or huge inter tube hurling down a hill.  When I was a kid, driving up the mountain to go to Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear, or Santa’s Village, you could always see dozens of cars parked on the side of the mountain road.

The first sign of snow!  Even if it was a 20 foot square of powder, all the kids would scream for their parents to stop the car so they could go touch it.  Even if you got on a tube and slid for 10 feet on a basically flat surface, you were the happiest kid on the planet!

If your town has a patch of snow for snowball fights, chances are there’s a hill somewhere in there where you’ll see little ones racing up and down.

  • Go skiing/snowboarding

Head to your local resort with bunny hills and grab a pass for the day for your little one to learn to ski or snowboard.  If they’re older, jump up on the ski lift and tread the hills together.

  • Visit a year-round Christmas Store

Most towns have one.  A mom and pop store that has Christmas joy year-round.  These types of stores go all out when the holiday their store is based upon rolls around.

Think of Duncan’s Toy Chest is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York or what Buddy Turns Gimballs into in Elf.  The owners and managers live for getting their stores to explode.  Take your camera for the endless photo opportunities!

Let your kids each pick out one ornament to take home for the tree.  The endless possibilities will make this difficult, but they’ll have a collection of their own ornaments you can give them as a wedding gift or “First Christmas Away from Home” gift.

  • Go out for seasonal coffee & hot cocoa

I encourage you to ask around for an actual coffee shop.  Skip the Starbucks and go to an established cafe with comfy chairs and sofas, books and board games lining the shelves, and drink a fun minty hot chocolate or gingerbread latte from a real mug!

  • Meet Santa & get pictures

Find out Santa’s schedule before you head to the mall, local hotel, or holiday festival.  Try to avoid a huge line and get a great experience.

Ask around to friends about which Santa’s helpers they have visited in years past and which helper makes the most magical moments.

  • Pick out a Christmas Tree as a family

Load up the family and head out to your local tree lot and get picky about the perfect tree.  Open up a discussion in the car on the way of what details make for a perfect tree and watch your kiddos go on the hunt.

If you’re up for a Griswold Christmas, research the cut-your-own farms near you and search through the great outdoors for the perfect evergreen.

  • Go to your city’s tree lighting

City Hall, Main Street, or the park.  Most cities will put up an impressively large tree for all to enjoy.  They will usually advertise in the paper or on the city’s website for a fancy ceremony to light the tree for the first time in the season.

Some ceremonies will be simple but beautiful while others will have the choirs from each school sing, have a hand bell choir play, the marching band play, have a reading of a Christmas book, or have a full festival with booths from local businesses.

  • Take towels & blankets to an animal shelter

Sadly, animal shelters are never empty.  A lot of shelter have outdoor housing for animals or no heating in the large warehouses.  Donating some towels and blankets that aren’t being used in your home could provide a comfortable new bed for these future pets.

  • Gift Shopping

Write out a list of who you are going to be purchasing gifts for (Try doing this as early as possible, or have a running list all year long!).  As people talk about things they need, write it down! If you can’t afford what they need, perhaps get something that coordinates with it.

Take the kids out to help you discover worth-while gifts for loved ones.  Have them pick out wrapping paper, a gift for their teacher, or a secret gift for their sibling.

  • Go to a Christmas play or concert

If you don’t know someone who is in a performance, head to the newspaper or school calendar.  All choirs and bands have holiday concerts and most community theaters have a holiday-themed show closing out the year.

  • Go on a Christmas decor scavenger hunt

When you head to your local Candy Cane Lane or light festival, make a list of common Christmas symbols and make check lists , bingo cards, or picture boards.

The competitive side will come out as the kids try to spy each Santa, reindeer, snowman, candy cane, teddy bear, candle, icicle lights, etc. among the decorations.

  • Visit a garage sale for fun gift exchange

If you have the need for a unique gift, take a weekend morning to scout the garage sales for something you can flip into a unique gift.

This is also a great way for kids to pay for something they want to give as a gift to a friend, sibling, or loved one.  They get to pick something out themselves and pay for it (since it will probably be within thier budget).

Their imagination will run wild as they try to find something they think someone else will enjoy.

  • Go to a pottery & paint store

Find your local Color Me Mine type of store and grab a plate, bowl, and mug to paint.  You can make personalized cookie plate, milk mug, and treat bowl for Santa and his reindeer.

It will be easily recognized as it’s taken out of the boxes each year and will be a wonderful decoration full of memories.

Stay at Home – Crafts

  • Make paper snowflakes & hang them

Put on your creativity hats and get to folding and snipping fun patterns.  Pick a big window and display them with fishing line, ribbon, or tape them to the window itself.

  • Make a holiday wreath

Make it out of pine cones from your nature walk, ribbon from a shopping spree, candy canes from the dollar store, or trace hand prints on green paper and make a 2D wreath.

Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann, floral and craft stores will have empty wire or styrofoam wreath bases that you can create wreaths with over and over.

If you’re partial to a big, fancy store-bought or mom-made wreath on the front door, let the kids create wreaths for the doors of their room.

  • Make holiday cards to send out

Sure you can get fancy photos taken, printed, and send those out.  You can also have your kids write letters and draw pictures to send out to loved ones.  I’m sure Grandma would appreciate a hand written letter from her grand kids.

  • Make a box to send to deployed service members

Send some comforts of home to a deployed service member or platoon.  Let your kids help pack a box to be sent overseas.



  • Make gingerbread houses

Kits will be in stores before you know it.  Get out cheap plastic tablecloths from the dollar store or party supply store and cover everything.  Table, counter, chairs, floor.  Icing will be everywhere.  Grab some small bags of fun candy at the store and let your kiddos go wild with creating a scene or let them work together to build a town.

Go grab a thick cardboard presentation board and build on top of it to keep your creations on display for the season.

  • Make your own wrapping paper

Get a big roll of brown paper at the craft store.  Roll it out on the table and have the kiddos draw holiday pictures, write song lyrics, stamp or paint.  Let it dry, then re-roll and use as regular wrapping paper.

You can also get some plain wrapping paper and write on it once gifts are wrapped instead of using gift tags.

  • Write letters to Santa

Have the kids sit down and write letters to Old Saint Nick.  You can go with a gift list or prompt them with “I want, I need, I will wear, I will read” and get ideas for clothes, books, and what they think they need instead of a big list of wants.

Letters to Santa don’t have to be gift wishes.  They can ask Santa questions, send something to Mrs. Claus, or write a thank you letter after they receive their gifts.

  • Make stockings

Go out and grab some fun fabric, a pattern for stockings (or make your own) and get to cutting!  You don’t need sewing skills to make stockings!  You can use fabric glue, hot glue, or can grab some yarn and a yarn needle and lace them shut.

No one will have stockings like yours and they can be a keepsake for your kids.

  • Make paper chain garland

Get some good old fashioned construction paper, cut it into strips and let the kids link them together and staple or glue as they go.

Make long strands to hang up around the house, or make a strand and rip off a ring each day as you count down to Christmas.

  • Make Borax snowflakes

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to winter activities arts and crafts

Check out my tutorial here!

  • Make scented Playdough

Mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup salt, 2 tsp cream of tartar in a pot.  Add 1 cup water, 1-2 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp peppermint extract and turn to medium-low heat and stir.  As it starts to solidify, add red or green food coloring until desired color.  Remove and knead.

Enjoy! Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months!

  • Make your own snow

If you live in an area with no snow or your little one isn’t a fan of the cold, throw 3 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of hair conditioner, mix, and let the play begin.  Put on a cookie sheet or large bin to control the fun.

  • Make a thank you gift for your teachers

Have your kids write a note, glue together some candy, or pick out a pair of slippers and socks.  Thank your teachers for molding your crazy child into a star pupil.

  • Make your own gift tags

Get out some card stock and let the kids go wild with cutting, stamps, stickers, markers, crayons, glitter, whatever you’d like.  Grab a hole punch and some string and attach them to your gifts!

  • Make a dining room table centerpiece

Let your kiddos go down the holiday aisle and pick out some coordinating pieces.  Head home and let them arrange the items in a fish bowl or hurricane vase.

Pick out a new table runner, some candles, and some fun ornaments and let the kids go to town decorating down the middle of the table.  Who knows?  Maybe this will make them want to come to the dinner table to admire their masterpiece.

  • Write letters to yourself for next year

Before you finish packing up the Christmas decor, have everyone sit down and write a letter to themselves for next year.  Perhaps include the presents they got, what they did that year, what they want themselves to remember for next year, their new years resolutions.

Then pack it away with your ornaments and such.  Each year, as you get out your items to decorate, let the kids laugh at themselves from the year before.  Make a scrapbook of them.  Your Christmas time capsule letters.

  • Decorate your table cloth or tree skirt

Instead of opting for an ornate tree skirt or table cloth, let your family put their stamp on it.  Get out the paint and make a spiral of growing hand prints on your tree skirt or have the kids write their names and a memory on the table cloth.

  • Make Lifesaver ornaments

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminium foil and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Let the kids lay out their lifesavers into fun designs, throw a metal hook on them and throw in the oven until melted.  Then remove to let them harden.  Pull off of the foil an hang them up.

This can be done with jolly ranchers, life savers, or peppermints.  Just throw down metal cookie cutters and they’ll take that shape.

  • Decorate ugly Christmas sweaters

Grab some cheap cotton pull over sweaters at the store.  Go to the miniature tree decor section and grab some miniature bells, bows, ornaments, garland, etc.  Get the puffy paint out of the craft drawer and let them go wild with making their creations.

Stay at Home – Activities

  • Board game night

Crack out the board games from the hall closet and let the friendly competition begin.  Enjoy some cider or hot cocoa while the cards, game pieces, and dice roll!

  • Everyone pick out things to donate

Start a tradition.  Have everyone make room for new things by picking out clothes, toys, etc. for donation.  Inspire their giving hearts while making sure you don’t end up with a house fit for hoarders.

  • Watch Christmas movies

Snuggle up on the couch, turn off the lights and enjoy a Christmas classic by the glow if the tree.

Check out the Ultimate Family Christmas Movie List!

  • Dance party to Christmas music

Break out the CDs, records, Pandora stations, ipods, and computers.  Let the hits roll and dance like nobody’s watching.  Be sure to sneak some videos to embarrass them in a few years.

  • Host a fancy holiday party

Your kid is going to be growing out of that fancy dress or suit in months.  If the only place they’re planning on wearing it is a Christmas concert or church, throw a “fancy” party where everyone dresses up, drinks out of fancy glasses, and eats tiny little snacks.

  • Paint on a canvas

Grab some small canvases and let the kids make some holiday creations that can be hung on the wall each year.

  • Build a blanket fort & watch a Christmas Movie

Take apart the couch, bring in the dining room chairs, all the extra sheets, blankets, and pillows and build a luxurious fort to have a movie marathon in.

  • Read Christmas Books as a family

Pull out all of the Christmas books you have.  Place them in a basket by the fireplace, display them on a bookshelf, or wrap them up and let the kids unwrap a book each night.

Read them in the living room while the kids act out the stories or have everyone snuggle in one bed each night and read them as a goodnight story.

  • Trim the tree

Even if you’re a stickler (like me) and want your ornaments spaced out just so and in the proportionally correct place, let it go.

Let the kids carefully pick out their favorites and climb up and down the step stool to hang them. Put them up on Dad’s shoulders to put the star on.  Enjoy the chaos.

  • Hang your home made wreath

Put your 3M hook or nail on your front door and let your little one hang their masterpiece.

  • Let the kids set up the Christmas Village & its citizens

If you have a Christmas Village collection, let the kids (carefully) design the city for this year.

My favorite thing as a kid was planning the lay out.  Each year got more intricate with the roll of cotton snow, boxes underneath to add levels, and we picked out new pieces at the year round Christmas store each year.

  • Make a fire & roast marshmallows

If you don’t have a fireplace, rent a bon fire pit at the beach or camp ground, or gather around a grill!

Bust out the marshmallows and s’mores and enjoy the sweet treats.

  • Host a cookie or ornament exchange party

Ask over some friends or family and instead of bringing gifts, have each person bring their best cookies or bring ornaments and have a big exchange.

Ornament exchange: You can throw names in a hat and pick names to exchange one on one or play it white elephant style. Put all ornament in the center of the room. Assign each person a number.  When it’s your turn you can either grab a new ornament from the pile or steal one from someone else.  If your ornament is stolen, either steal another, or grab a new one.

Cookie Exchange:  Have everyone bring at least 2 cookies per guest.  You can set them out and have people vote for “most unique”, “most festive”, “best display”, etc. and award prizes (Cookie jars or jugs of egg nog).  Or you can just bring cookies on a tray and exchange 2 cookies per person until your tray is filled with a plethora of cookies and head back home.

  • Camp out in the living room

Grab all the pillows, blankets, or sleeping bags you have.  Turn out the lights, turn on the Christmas Tree, watch a Christmas Movie and fall asleep to the glow of the tree as a family.

Yes, your back may be sore in the morning.  But the memories will last longer than the aches.

  • Write down New Years Resolutions

Have everyone sit down and write down their resolutions for the new year.  Hang them on the fridge to remind yourselves what goals you have set for yourself.

If they stay up on the fridge all year and all of your goals are met, commemorate your success by rolling up your resolutions and putting them into a clear ornament or rolling it into a decorative scroll so you can be reminded of it each year as you decorate the tree.

  • Host an ugly Christmas sweater party

Now that you have made your very own ugly sweaters, throw a party to see what other friends and family can create.  If you’re not a crafty family, head to a thrift store.  they usually put out some lovely items in the winter that were considered fashionable 30 years ago and make for great party wear today.

  • Hang Christmas lights

Let the kids gently untangle them before the adults get up on a ladder.  Ask the kids draw out their ideas of what patterns to hang them in.  Or have the kids measure how long the lights are and figure out where the outlets are and have them do some math to figure out how many strands they need.

  • Solve a big Christmas Puzzle

Instead of spending $30 on a new board game (Why are they ALL 30+ dollars?!?), walk over a few feet and grab a huge $10 puzzle with a Christmas theme.

Pull out the card table and let the family work on it bits at a time when they get bored or get 2 puzzles and have a contest to see who can finish theirs first.

  • Let the kids decorate their rooms

If the kids are into Christmas and continue to try to be a part of decorating, get them some of the non-breakable decor and let them decorate their bedrooms.

Grab one of the mini trees at the tree lot and let them decorate it on top of their dresser.  Let them hang a wreath they made.  Hang a single strand of Christmas lights in their room.

  • Secret Santa

Instead of everyone buying a gift for everyone, put names in a hat and draw.  Now each person is responsible for one gift.

My family had all of the cousins do this for our annual family gathering. (Our mothers cheated and rigged it, but we loved it)

In this fashion, your wallet is not crying after the holidays.  Everyone gets one gift “plus there’s the added fun of who gets who…whom”

Santa gifts don’t hurt your wallet and your creativity as badly if your son got a gift for dad, you got a gift for your daughter, etc.  Simplify!

  • White Elephant gift exchange

Place all wrapped gifts in the center.  Draw a number.  Number 1 gets to go first and opens a gift for all to see.  Number 2 (and so on) will then steal the gift number 1 has, or open a new gift.

If the gift you have is stolen, you may steal another or open a new gift.  Each gift may only be stolen 3 times.  If number 1 ends up with the same gift they started with, they may trade with anyone at the end.

  • Open a small gift on Christmas Eve

Make a Christmas Eve gift for everyone.  New pajamas to be shown off on Christmas morning, new fluffy socks, a new Christmas book or movie, game or activity, key for Santa (for homes without chimneys), cookie mix to make Santa’s cookies, a bag of popcorn for the movie, or a gift from your Elf on the Shelf.

Make Nummies

  • Bake and decorate Christmas Cookies

Make your favorite recipe and grab some festive cookie cutters at the store.  Grab a few tubs of white icing and come food dye for a decorating party.  The baking aisle usually also has gel icing, candy eyes, bows, glitter and sprinkles.  Let the flour fly and make some fun memories.

  • Bake Ornaments

magical mama blog christmas tree cinnamon applesauce ornaments

Yes, you heard that right, BAKE ornaments!  Check out my Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments here.

  • Make popcorn garland

Search through the popcorn section for popcorn with NO butter… it may take a while!  You don’t want it to make your tree oily and moldy!  It is best to start with stale popcorn for stringing, so pop and let sit for 24 hours before diving in!

Have an old fashioned Christmas tree with home made ornaments.

I have 4 trees in my house every year.  I always have one in my kitchen adorned with food themed decor…cinnamon applesauce ornaments, candy canes, popcorn garland, etc.

  • Crock Pot Hot Cocoa

Get out that crock pot and make enough hot cocoa to feed a crowd!

6 cups milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups milk chocolate chips.

Set up a ladle, cups, whipped cream, candy canes, marshmallows, etc. and you’ve got a hot cocoa bar!

  • Mini apple pies

Get out that muffin tin from the back of that cabinet.  Pick up some refrigerated cinnamon rolls at the store and a can of apple pie filling.

Press the cinnamon rolls into the greased muffin tin forming a cup, spoon apple pie filling into those cups (you may want to chop up the apple chunks into smaller bites).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Drizzle icing and enjoy!

  • Crock Pot Apple Cider

Grab a jug of apple juice when you’re at the grocery store.  Dump it into your biggest pot on the stove or into the crock pot.  Add cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. For a fancy or creative cider, throw in oranges, vanilla extract, cranberries, lemon juice, honey, or caramel sauce.

  • Make a batch of cookies and take to a shelter

While you’re waiting for yet another batch to bake, jump online and find out what shelters are in your area.  Figure out which ones take food donations of this kind (perishable & home made) and take your kids to deliver!

  • Cookies for Santa

Take some time on Christmas Eve to make a special batch just for Santa to enjoy.

If you’d like to go for nontraditional, have your kids look around for some snack that Santa might enjoy after ALL of the cookies and milk he’s getting.

My mom and I would put out a Pepsi and an apple.  That way he would get some caffeine to push through the rest of the night and an apple for a healthy bite or two.

  • Snacks for the reindeer

Santa gets treats at almost every home, but aren’t the reindeer doing the most work?  They deserve a treat!

Ask your kiddos what they think Santa’s reindeer would eat.  A lot of kids will probably volunteer that they need some candy…so they can have a piece.

You might have a curious oyster on your hands who would like to know what they really eat. Let them do some research! (Leafy greens, mushrooms, occasionally bird eggs and they enjoy apples and carrots as a treat even though they would not find those in their natural habitat)

  • Chicken Noodle Soup

Toss some chicken broth, celery, carrots and spices in the crock pot in the morning.  Add some chicken & noodles when you get home and… voila!  Within an hour, dinner is served!

  • Christmas shaped pizzas

Grab some refrigerated pizza dough (or make it from scratch if you want to be the picture-perfect Pinterest mom), knead, roll, cut into the shape of a tree, stocking, candy cane, Santa hat, gingerbread man, etc. and let the kiddos decorate.

Bake and enjoy!

  • Peppermint Bark

This is simple as pie!  Grab some white melting chocolate and some candy canes or peppermints.  Crush the peppermints to pieces in a food processor or double bag and take a rolling pin or hammer to them.

Met your chocolate in the microwave or over water on the stove top, stir in your peppermint dust & bits, spread onto wax paper on a cookie sheet and throw in the fridge to harden.  Tale it out, break it apart and enjoy!

I make this every year and take it with me everywhere!

Traditionally, it is white chocolate and peppermint pieces, but you can get milk chocolate, dark chocolate, colored white chocolate, and kind of candy you want.  The possibilities are endless!

Pro Tip:  Even if these little dusty pieces do not get wet, they will become very hard and sticky in time.  Be sure to wash your appliances as quickly as possible!

  • Christmas shaped pancakes

Pour your pancake batter into some fun shapes on the griddle.  A triangle for a tree, a hook for a candy cane, a gingerbread man, a Santa hat… you may find it easier to pour a piece of a shape and let it begin to take form before adding on an additional limb or decoration.

Let the kids decorate with fruit or frosting.

If you have metal cookie cutters, you can grease them, place them on the griddle and pour the batter directly into them.

For easier fun, add some green coloring for Grinch pancakes or add red colorin to half of your batter and swirl for some festive cakes.

  • Decorate green waffles

Toss some green food coloring into your waffle batter.  Cut into triangles to let the kids cover with syrup, frosting, sweets, whipped cream, fruit.

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How To: Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments

How To: Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Santa Claus is on his way and it’s time to bake some cinnamon applesauce ornaments! Yes! BAKE ornaments!

This has become a staple in my Christmas decorating season each year…yes, it can take me a whole season to put up four trees, ten wreaths, multiple sets of garland, wall decor, thousands of ornaments and small touches all over… I have a problem, I know.

WARNING: Your house is going to smell AMAZING!

magical mama blog ingredients cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas tree decor cookie cutters rolling pin

What we’ll need

Applesauce (1 cup)

Ground Cinnamon (1 cup + extra)

Ground Nutmeg (a few shakes) – optional

Festive Cookie Cutters


String or ribbon

Head over to the spice aisle and grab the biggest container of ground cinnamon that you can find… I get mine at Sam’s Club. Grab a few snack tubs of applesauce or spring for the big tub!

Head home, throw on a family Christmas movie or two, and get to work!

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments ingredients cookie cutters rolling pin


Mix together 1 cup of applesauce and a heaping cup of ground cinnamon in a bowl.  ( I like to throw in a bit of ground nutmeg for an even warmer and more delicious scent)

Once you get a good dough forming, throw down ground cinnamon and roll out your dough.  If your dough is sticking to your pin, add more cinnamon.  If your dough is crumbling, add more applesauce.

Your hands are going to be nasty!  But worry not,  mine have never been stained, they just require a good wash.

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments dough roller cookie cutters christmas tree


Roll out to about 1/8″ thick and go to town with your cookie cutters.  Continue to roll out your scraps.  I can usually make about 24-26 ornaments with one batch.

Lay on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Take a straw and form holes where you can hang your ornaments.

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments on cookie sheet bake baking christmas tree


Throw in the oven on 200 degrees for an hour or until completely hardened. (This is when you’ll want to bathe in the warm smell of your home!)

They’ll be done when they’re completely dry.  If they feel moist on the bottom, throw them back in.  You don’t want mildew hanging on your tree!

Take out and let cool.  After baking at 200, you can practically touch them right out of the oven.

(This is the point that you can decorate with icing if you’d like to and let it dry overnight.)

magical mama blog applesauce cinnamon ornaments baked christmas tree

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments ribbon christmas tree


Loop String through the holes you created and hang on your tree or garland.  I like to hang them higher up because we have a Bloodhound and a Bulldog that will eat them if given the opportunity.

These beauties will last the whole season and you’ll get endless compliments!  Be sure to send friends our way for instructions!

magical mama blog tree christmas applesauce cinnamon ornaments

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas tree

magical mama blog christmas tree cinnamon applesauce ornaments


Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas decor tree ideas how to

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How To: Make Borax Snowflakes

magical mama blog how to make borax snowflakes

How To: Make Borax Snowflakes

I’m from the beach cities in Southern California, so growing up, my Christmases were never white.

Every year at Christmas, I would hang up the sparkly snowflake ornaments in windows and even went as far as stringing lights and fishing line along the ceiling of the hallway and hanging snowflakes from there… I was determined to have “snow” for every Christmas!

Even though I finally live where there is a bit of snow, I still adore hanging my snowflakes up every year!

Now, in addition to my regular sparkly ornaments, I’m adding in Borax snowflakes!

These are easy and fun to make and they have a 3D rock-candy type of texture that really catches sparkles!

Here’s what we need:

Box of Borax

Pipe Cleaners

Straw (or pencil or chopstick, etc.)




Glass Jars

magical mama blog borax snowflakes christmas how to make create arts and crafts winter activities for kids

Head out to the store and grab your Borax in the laundry aisle and some Wintery colored pipe cleaners in the school or craft section.

magical mama blog pipe cleaners borax snowflakes how to arts and crafts winter activities

Chop up pieces of pipe cleaners and let the kids run wild twisting and connecting them into snowflake shapes.  Attach a length of string to your snowflake and secure the other end to a pencil, straw, or wooden spoon.

Cooking Time

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to arts and crafts winter activities

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and mix in 1/3 cup Borax in.  Note: it will fizzle up when you add it… don’t worry, your pot won’t overflow!  Let cook until dissolved (2ish minutes).

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to arts and crafts winter activities

Pour your solution into a glass or jar, submerge your designs and rest the pencil or chopstick on the top!

Confession: I tried doing multiple designs at once in the pot…don’t try this.  These did not turn out as gems!

For each design (or two small designs), make their own batch of boiled borax water and give them their own jar.

Though this may sound like a lot of work, it is an incredibly fast process, it’s not very wasteful, and it’s incredibly cheap! (A regular 65 oz box of Borax is about $3.)

While the kids are making their designs, you can boil each batch and pour them into jars so the designs can go right in.

For best results, your designs should be fully submerged, vertical, and you want to avoid them touching each other or the sides or bottom of the jar.

Magical Science Stuff

magical mama blog borax snowflakes overnight how to arts and crafts winter activities

Let sit overnight and watch their faces the next morning!  This is a fun little science experiment for them to bring up in class!

There was no way for me to capture the incredible sparkle that these things make!  Think of the inside of a geode rock, how every angle sparkles when lights hit it.

Hang them on the tree, in a window, or lay them out on a table runner as a centerpiece.

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to winter activities arts and crafts

Happy crafting and Happy Holidays!

magical mama blog how to make borax snowflakes christmas craft

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Christmas Toy Guide

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magical mama blog christmas toy guide 1 year old 2 year old 3 year old 5 dollars 30 10 15 20 toy list amazon ideas

Christmas Toy Guide

Here come’s Santa Claus! It’s Christmas morning and your spoiled rotten children are opening present after present… and they’re all toys… and they all make noise… thanks Grandma.

Isn’t that always the way?  The toys people get us as children make noise and drive our parents crazy and instead of ending the trend, they continue the cycle.

Can’t they get your constantly growing kid some clothes? Some books? No, of course not.

I’ve made a list of 16 toys that you can suggest to Santa’s helpers…that have no batteries and no noise!

These gifts will be best suited for a one year old to three year old boy OR girl.

Best of all?! I kept them all between $5-$30!

Disclosure: Prices are constantly changing, but when I looked, these were the prices!

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Swirl Ramp Ball Drop ($22)

Stack and spin these colorful ramps and your baby will be amused for a few minutes at least.  You can watch their brain tick seeing how the balls spin and drop while you enjoy some quiet time.

Quiet Book ($14)

It’s all in the title! Quiet! Buttons, buckles, shapes, colors, ties, zippers, clocks, etc.  This book is chock full of things to keep baby’s hands busy!

Plush Athletic Ball Set ($17)

If Dad is hoping for an aspiring athlete, this is a great start!  You don’t have to worry about any broken vases or windows with these plush toys.  Bonus? It comes with a bag so we can start working on those “clean up” skills asap!

Stacking & Counting Cups ($12)

A good old fashioned set of cups with numbers and animals on top of it. Baby can play Godzilla and knock over the towers you build until they’re old enough to create their own masterpieces.  My baby’s favorite thing to do with hers is banging them together.  Not always the most quiet… but it’s better than having Yankee Doodle stuck in you head!

Fisher Price’s Baby’s First Block Set ($10)

Time to get those motor skills going!  Yet another toy with built in storage and a handle for on-the-go play!

Pop Up Ball Pit ($11)

And…Ball Pit Balls ($30)

This ball pit folds up flat and the balls come with their own zippered mesh bag!  This can keep baby busy for a quite a while.  Mine just got in her first ball pit and started organizing the balls…a girl after my own heart.  This is fun for parties and play dates as well as rainy days or a boring afternoon.  You can do a disinfectant wash in a bathtub and kill the germs on all the balls before returning them to their mesh home.

Wood & Wire Bead Maze ($15)

Travel back in time to your childhood in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  My favorite thing about these is that there are not a million pieces to step on!

Set of 4 Bath Books ($24)

If your child is anything like mine, as soon as she learned how to stand, that’s all she wanted to do in the bath…even though she adores bath time.  She needs all the distraction she can get.  These water proof books are a great!

Nuby Octopus Hoopla Bath Toy ($7)

More bath time distractions!  But who’s to say you have to use bath toys only in the bath? A little ring toss never hurt anyone!

Rock n’ Stack Toy ($9)

I am all about blocks, rings, links, lincoln logs, and cups.  The simple toys of yesteryear that require no batteries or assembly are my favorite and I’d much rather see my child playing with this stuff and using her imagination than staring at a light up noise machine.

Wooden Cheese Lacing Game ($12)

Montessori approved!  A simple wooden block that can be laced and untangled.  A puzzle with NO PIECES to pick up!

Infant to Toddler Swing ($30)

If you don’t have a swing set, but you maybe have a big tree, grab an attachment kit  and strap it to a tree.  Your little one will be secure in this seat and you can enjoy the giggles as they swing back and forth.

Little Tikes First Slide ($29)

In the playroom or the backyard, a slide can keep a kid busy for at least 30 minutes…how? You got me… but you can get something done as they race around time after time climbing and sliding.  Let them get all that energy out!

Number Match Puzzle ($20)

A nice old fashioned wooden puzzle!  It’s never too early to work on counting and putting things in their proper place!

Pretend Food Grocery Set ($17)

I remember spending hours velcro-ing and cutting the fruit and vegetables over and over and never getting tired of it. They come with their own basket to play grocery and… store all the pieces in! Are you picking up on a trend?  Your little one can associate each toy with it’s home and can start helping with clean up!

Wooden Alphabet Block Pull Cart ($12)

Your little one wants a puppy? They can walk this pull cart instead! Get to work on their alphabet and number recognition or color sorting.  They can stack and knock them down.  AND they can put them away!

There you have it!  A quick guide to a quiet Christmas!  You can save the noise for New Year’s!

When the noisy toys start dying, don’t replace the batteries!  Save money, expand their imaginations, and save yourself from Yankee Doodle on a loop in your noggin.

Happy Holidays and Happy Santa-ing!

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The Ultimate Family Christmas Movie List

ultimate 38 family friendly movie list christmas ratings run times descriptions plot summaries release years

The Ultimate Family Christmas Movie List

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Here are the ratings, release years, running times, and descriptions for 38 Christmas movie classics. Yes. That’s right, 38!

If you don’t own these holiday staples and don’t want to research where they are or fight the crowds, simply click on the image of the movie and you’ll be directed to get your movies delivered right to your door (most of them for $5-$10!)

I always put on these movies in the background while I’m decorating, enjoying holiday treats, or spending some quality time snuggled up with the family.  All of these films will give you the warm fuzzies!  Dive right in!  Happy Holidays!

  • Elf

PG (2003) 1 hr 37 min

Starring: Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart, James Caan

Since this movie came out almost 15 years ago, it has become a staple in most homes.  Join Buddy the elf on his adventure from the north pole to find his real father in New York City.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Live Action)

PG (2000) 1 hr 44 min

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski

This imagining of Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas tale brings the colorful characters of Whoville to life.  Enjoy watching little Cindy Lou Who make the Grinch’s heart grow 3 sizes.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Animated)

Unrated (1966) 26 min

Starring: Boris Karloff

If you love the classic tale but have small ones with a short attention span, spring for the tale told in less than 30 minutes!

  • The Santa Clause

PG (1994) 1 hr 37 min

Starring: Tim Allen, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold

Get wrapped up in the clause with Scott Calvin as he inadvertently takes out Santa on Christmas Eve and gets roped into doing the job himself!

Can you believe this classic is almost a quarter of a century old?!

  • The Santa Clause 2

G (2002) 1 hr 44 min

Starring: Tim Allen. Elizabeth Mitchell, David Krumholtz

Dive deeper into the Santa “clause” as Scott Calvin finds out he needs to find a Mrs.

  • The Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause

G (2006) 1 hr 37 min

Starring: Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell

Meet the Counsel of Legendary Figures and Jack Frost as he plans to take over Christmas in this time bending, alternate universe story unwinds.

  • Muppet Christmas Carol

G (1992) 1 hr 25 min

Starring: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire

Join the whole Muppet gang as they bring the classic Charles Dickens story to life in true Muppet Fashion.  Songs, dances, and amazing puppetry will keep your little ones drawn in.

  • Polar Express

G (2004) 1 hr 40 min

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks

Journey to the North Pole on the wildest express train your imagination can fathom.  The classic book was brought to life with ground-breaking animation and teaches lessons of bravery, friendship, and the spirit of Christmas.

  • Frosty the Snowman

TV-G (1969) 25 min

Starring: Jimmy Durante, Billy De Wolfe, Jackie Vernon

The greedy magician tries to steal the magical top hat that brought Frosty to life.  This quick classic is wonderful for those short attention spans.

  • Santa Clause is Comin’ To Town

TV-G (1970) 48 min

Starring: Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, Keenan Wynn

The stop-motion origin story of Kris Kringle will answer questions about why Santa comes down the Chimney, why stockings are hung, and why Santa comes on Christmas Eve.

  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

TV-G (1964) 47 min

Starring: Burl Ives, Larry Mann, Billie Mae Richards

This stop-motion classic gives a back story to the song of the same name.  What happens between all of the other reindeer calling him names and all of the reindeer loving him?

  • The Little Drummer Boy

Not Rated (1968) 25 min

Starring: Jose Ferrer, Paul Frees, June Foray

The not-so-well known stop motion TV classic brings the song to life.  A young boy takes out his frustrations on a drum and meets three wise men on an important journey.

This is a great short one to watch on a night that you set up the nativity scene.

  • Home Alone

PG (1990) 1 hr 43 min

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern

Kevin McCallister is left behind during the family vacation.  Watch Kevin protect his house from the Wet Bandits, Harry & Marv with booby traps while his family fights to get back home.

  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

PG (1992) 2 hr

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern

The year after Kevin is left home alone during the family vacation, he finds himself separated from his family yet again…in the bustling streets of New York City with none other than Harry & Marv.

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas

TV-G (1965) 25 min

Starring: Peter Robbins, Tracy Stratford, Bill Melendez

Charlie Brown accepts the position as Christmas pageant director while he struggles to get past the materialism of the season and seeks help from his friends in order to understand the true meaning of Christmas

  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas

Not Rated (1999) 1 hr 6 min

Starring: Kelsey Grammar, Wayne Allwine, Russi Taylor

A three part special.  “Donald Duck Stuck on Christmas” Donald’s own “Groundhog Day” experience. “A Very Goofy Christmas” Goofy’s journey to Max believing in Santa.  “Minnie & Mickey’s Gift of the Maggi” Mickey and Minnie recreate the ironic story about giving all you have.

  • Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas

G (1997) 1 hr 12 min

Starring: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury, Tim Curry

When Belle finds out that the beast hates Christmas, she decides to decorate and celebrate against his wishes.  Forte, an enchanted pipe organ, has more meaning to his master as an enchanted object than as a human and plans to rid the castle of Belle.

  • The Snowman

G (1982) 26 min

Starring: David Bowie

Raymond Briggs’s book brought to life in simple animation. Christmas Eve brings a boy’s snowman to life and they journey to the North Pole to meet Santa Clause.

  • Father Christmas

Not Rated (1991) 25 min

Starring: Mel Smith

Another Raymond Briggs book brought to life.  Father Christmas vacations in France, Scotland & Las Vegas before returning home to get back to work.

  • Arthur Christmas

PG (2011) 1 hr 37 min

Starring: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy

The answer to the iconic question of how Santa gets the presents all delivered in one night with a dysfunctional family full of hijinks behind it all.

  • The Nutcracker

Not Rated (1977) 1 hr 18 min

Starring: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland

Tchaikovski’s score is brought to life when Clara’s grandfather, a magician and toy maker brings a nutcracker as a gift to a Christmas Eve party.  Clara’s evening brings about a battle, dancing snowflakes, dancing candy, dancing fairies…dancing everything, it’s a ballet.

If you have an aspiring ballerina on your hands, grab this and let them get inspired for auditions!  I have this on VHS as watch it every year.

  • Christmas with the Kranks

PG (2004) 1 hr 39 min

Starring: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Akroyd

When the kids are finally out of the house, the Kranks parents decide to skip Christmas all together, until their daughter makes a surprise visit.

  • Jack Frost

PG (1998) 1 hr 41 min

Starring: Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston, Joseph Cross

A traveling singer struggles with spending time with his son and tends to break his promises. One year after he dies in a car accident, he comes back as a snowman and is given the chance to do all the things with his son that he missed out on.

Although this one is rated PG, if you’re not ready to discuss death with your little ones, skip it.

  • An Elf Story

Not Rated (2011) 23 min

Starring:Leslie Bellair, Brendan Dooling, Evie Eikhoff

Chippy is assigned to a family and finds his job difficult.  With a little help from Santa, the boy he is assigned to believes.

If your kids are all about their elf on the shelf, let them enjoy this short based on their favorite Christmas tradition.

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

PG (1993) 1 hr 16 min

Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara

Jack, king of Halloween Town discovers Christmas Town and and tries to take over the holiday.

This is rated PG, however, little ones who don’t do well with Halloween may have trouble with this one.

  • Jingle All The Way

PG (1996) 1 hr 29 min

Starring: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman

A mattress salesman and a mail man are both fathers hunting for a Turbo Man action figure on Christmas Eve and every store in town is sold out.

  • Ernest Saves Christmas

PG (1988) 1 hr 35 min

Starring: Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Oliver Clark

Silly Ernest is at it again but this time he joins Santa in the search for his successor.  Failure will result in no Christmas!

  • Deck The Halls

PG (2006) 1 hr 33 min

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Danny DeVito, Kristin Chenoweth

A town’s resident Christmas man and his family prepare for their favorite time of year when a new family, the Halls, move in across the street.  Mr. Hall wants his house to be seen from outer space.  So begins the rivalry of Christmas decor.

  • White Christmas

Not Rated (1954) 2 hrs

Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney

A successful song and dance duo become romantically involved with a sister act.  The four travel to Vermont for a booking and find out that the owner is an old friend who is in dire need of help.

It is not Christmas to me until I hear Bing Crosby sing White Christmas and this spectacle brings it to life.

  • Holiday Inn

Not Rated (1942) 1 hr 40 mins

Starring: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds

A successful singer leaves the business in order to settle down on a farm with an inn only open on the holidays.  Once he finds himself with too much time, he begins writing shows for each holiday celebration.  Mystery and a love triangle cause mayhem followed by Bing Crosby singing none other than White Christmas.


  • Miracle on 34th Street

Not Rated (1947) 1 hr 36 min

Starring: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne

A last minute Santa replacement for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade turns out to be a hit and is quickly recruited to become the store Santa for the season.  Kris Kringle believes himself to be the real Santa Claus but is not met with approval.

  • It’s a Wonderful Life

PG (1946) 2 hrs 10 min

Starring: Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

An angel is sent from heaven to save George Bailey from his contemplated suicide.  The angel shows George what the world would be like if he had never been born.

  • A Christmas Story

PG (1983) 1 hr 34 min

Starring: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin

A young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his family, his teacher, and Santa himself that what he wants most for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun.

Movies for Mom, Dad, and the teenagers

The following films are filled with some more adult-aimed content.

Enjoy some quiet time with your significant other after the kiddos have gone to bed or when they are at Grandma’s house.

While You Were Sleeping

PG (1995) 1 hr 43 min

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher

A Chicago transit authority token taker falls for a stranger more and more every day.  He is knocked unconscious onto train tracks, she risks her own life to save his.  When he hospital staff won’t let her see him, one of the nurses claims that she is his fiance in order for her to gain access.  The man’s family hears word of their fake engagement, and she is quickly welcomed into their home for the holidays.

Definite chick flick.  If your husband hasn’t seen this one, perhaps have a girls night with some wine and some 90s-tastic Bill Pullman

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

PG-13 (1989) 1 hr 37 min

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki

Family joins the Griswolds in their home for Christmas.  Mishaps, mayhem, and madness occur within their home while everyone just tries to survive the holidays as Clark waits for his Christmas bonus.

Great if you have teenagers, but there’s some language to be weary of.

  • The Holiday

PG-13 (2006) 2 hrs 18 min

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black

Two women both troubled by the men in their lives swap homes for a home exchange vacation over the Christmas holiday.

Chick Flick alert.  Plenty of humor, a lot of bedroom talk.  Great for a ladies night in.

  • Four Christmases

PG-13 (2008) 1 hr 28 min

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall

Brad and Kate are in a happy relationship and have no intention of marriage or children.  Each year at Christmas, they come up with an excuse and head off to an exotic location for vacation.  When a fog rolls in and ruins their vacation, they suddenly end up having to do what they try to avoid every year, visit all 4 sets of their divorced and re-married parents in one day.

  • Scrooged

PG-13 (1988) 1 hr 41 min

Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe

While a cynical TV executive is putting together a live portrayal of A Christmas Carol at his station, he, himself, is visited by the ghosts of past, present and future to help him change his ways and get into the Christmas spirit.

#39 Bonus: Adult Only Movie

  • Love Actually

R (2003) 2 hr 15 min

Starring: Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Kiera Knightly, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Billy Bob Thorton, Rowan Atkinson,

Warning: nudity & language

This British classic follows the life of 8 very different couples that are all intricately intertwined the month before Christmas.  Follow the heartbreak, love stories, and drama as it unfolds.

Definitely to enjoy on a night the kids are out of the house!

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38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

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38 fun fall activites for your family, family night, family bonding, autumn fall family game night magical mama blog

38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

School bells are ringing, the air is still muggy from summer, and everyone is trying to figure out this new routine.  Why this is a surprise every year? We may never know.

Between the time the first school bell rings and the time sleigh bells are ringing, it is so important to make time to spend together as a family…but coming up with things to do?  That can be a doozie!  That’s why I created this fabulous list!

There’s a free printable October Calendar at the bottom of this post!

Getting out of the house activities:

  1. Go to a Corn Maze or Hayride

    Almost all city councils crave a fun seasonal festival to bring the town together.  Look on your city’s website for upcoming events.  If your city is unable to host something like this, chances are one close to you is.

    Look up “hayride near (your zip code)” and all kinds of options will pop up for you to look into.  A lot of them also have petting zoos, mazes, crafts and more!  You can make a whole day of it one weekend with your family!

  2. Apple picking at a local orchard

    “An apple orchard?  We don’t usually see those off the freeway.  There’s no way we have one near us!”  I dare you to look it up!  Most states have websites dedicated to “pick your own” farms and orchards divided up by county.  You’ll be surprised how close a local PYO is to you!

  3. Go to a Pumpkin Patch

    They’re everywhere in October!  You can always go to the parking lot of the local store, but its much more fun to go to a local farm or pop up “farm” and get some great pictures of your kids, fun family photos and make an event of it!

  4. Check out your city’s calendar of events for a fall festival

    Your city should have a website with a link to upcoming events put on by the city.  If your city isn’t on the brink of technology, check the paper!

    This is a great way to plan a fun play date or start an annual family tradition!  Some day, your kids can tell your grand kids about how they always went to the Fall Festival in their home town and can take them some day!

  5. Pick out Halloween Candy to hand out

    Instead of going to the grocery store yourself and looking at a mountain of options, get your family involved.  I know, it sounds crazy, let your kids be in charge of picking out candy?  I’ll go bankrupt!  Their teeth will rot!

    Simply give each family member a budget or a one bag rule.  Get your kids excited about going to the store and getting groceries!  Errands don’t have to be a chore!

    My favorite part of Halloween as a kid wasn’t trick or treating.  Sure, I’d go out for 30 minutes just to do it, but I’d rush home to see all of the fun costumes come to my door and hand out candy.

  6. Go out for seasonal donuts

    Everyone makes them.  Krispy Kream, Dunkin Donuts, and all the mom and pop shops around.  Take the kiddos out one morning to a local shop and enjoy breakfast together.

    You can bring donuts home any old time, but going out to a shop where they’re forced to talk to each other and try something unique makes for a great time.

  7. Go for a sunset walk

    It’s been a long day at school and work, the kids have done their after school activities, homework is done.. before dinner and electronics and a bed time routine, get outside.  Take your kids out in the fresh air and have them look up.  Enjoy a sunset as a family.

  8. Go on a nature walk

    You can go out to enjoy the outdoors or you can send your kids out on a serious hunt.  Make them a list of things to look for or make a list of things to collect along your walk.

    Play nature bingo or I Spy.  Try to get away from walking around your neighborhood.  Go to a big park in the city, or a local campground.  Get them out in the leaves and dirt!

  9. Collect pine cones

    Along your nature walk, collect pine cones or other natural materials.  Not only is it fun watching your kids hunt and compare, you can bake them and make a Fall centerpiece or a Winter wreath.

    To bake: preheat your oven to 250, line a baking sheet with tin foil, place cones and cinnamon sticks on baking sheet (I like to sprinkle a little ground cinnamon and nutmeg on top too!), bake for one hour, check occasionally to avoid burning.

    Baking your cones dries out all the moisture and makes sure there’s no miniature critters hiding in there!

  10. Flashlight Tag in the park

    You know all of those flashlights around your house that never get used?  Now’s your chance to find them, check the batteries, have a good time, and make sure everyone knows where their dedicated flashlight is in case of an emergency.

    Get your little ones bundled up in dark colors.  Head out to a local park after the sun sets and it gets dark.  Be sure to establish boundaries so they can all be found again easily and have fun!

  11. Grab seasonal drinks at a local coffee shop

    I’d love to challenge you to find someplace other than Starbucks.  Avoid the girls in their leggings and Ugg boots waiting in line for their Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

    Get on Yelp or ask around for a fun local place and go out for a fancy family date.  Finding a coffee shop that has fun hot chocolates and teas, serves drinks in actual mugs, and has a little ambiance makes for a great trip!

  12. Take some fall family photos

    It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Not everyone has the money to hire a busy and expensive professional, coordinate schedules and get all children dressed and happy at the same time.  It’s nearly impossible.

    Take a fancy camera with you to a pumpkin patch or coffee shop or your back yard and get some realistic and fun photos.  Kids don’t remember the fancy photo shoots when they look back at family albums, they remember the memories you make.  Capture those!

  13. Trick or Treat

    Teach your kids the fundamentals of the classic activity.  Make sure they use their manners and their courage.  Get them some exercise before they chow down!

    If they get tired, bored, cold, scared, etc. head back home.  Let them exchange the candy they got from trick or treating that they don’t like with the good stuff in your bowl that they helped pick out.  Turn on a fun movie (ABC Family and tons of other channels have family friendly Halloween movies running constantly) and have fun handing out candy.

    If your neighborhood isn’t known for it’s Trick or Treating crowd, or Halloween falls on a weeknight, a lot of cities will have Trick or Treat events where the kids can safely get candy without scary decor or crossing streets at night.

    At- Home Activities:

  14. Play football in the yard

    You don’t have to be an NFL pro.  Split up into teams while dinner is cooking and have fun challenging each other back and forth across the yard.

    If you don’t have a big yard, head to a park, invite family friends with you and have a picnic and a scrimmage.

  15. Bob for apples

    Take the apples you picked at a local orchard or some from the supermarket, fill a big basin with water and tell your kids to go for it.

    Most times, they’ll think it’s easy then struggle and giggle with each other as those mini mouths try to capture those giant granny smiths. Get pictures!

  16. Start a fire & make S’mores

    Make your first fire of the season and have the kiddos make some fun snacks for themselves.

    If you don’t have a fire place, head to the beach or a camp ground and nab a bon fire pit, or make them over a grill or stove.

  17. Carve Jack-O-Lanterns

    Get ready to get messy and carve the pumpkins you picked at the patch.

    My favorite stay-clean trick is to cover whatever surface they will be working on in a few of the dollar store plastic table cloths that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  Once you’re done, you can pull the corners in and put the entire thing in the trash.  No soggy newspapers or sticky magazine pages!

    If you don’t have an artsy eye, you can always grab some Halloween cookie cutters and hammer them into your pumpkin or trace them so you don’t end up with a blob thats supposed to be a cat or a bat.

  18. Watch Hocus Pocus

    A classic Halloween film that is rated PG.  Enjoy some autumnal treats and watch this as a family.

  19. Decorate your home

    There is no need to spend a fortune to make your house look like a haunted house or like a Martha Stewart magazine cover.  Grab some stuff at the supermarket, dollar store, or party supply store.

    Have your kids cover the plants out front with spider webs, make a leafy centerpiece you can keep on the table until Thanksgiving, put candles and plastic spiders in jars, place their pumpkins out front, hang bats from a tree, put spooky signs on their bedroom doors, hang fun hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen, put a fun wreath on the door, etc.

  20. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    This 1966 classic isn’t even rated.  It’s great for all ages and it’s only 25 minutes long!

  21. Rake & jump in a pile of leaves

    If you don’t have a big tree that graces you with mounds of leaves, chances are someone in your family or neighborhood does.  Get your kids into the giving spirit and go rake up some leaves for someone (with their permission).

    Great pictures can be taken when kids are thrilled to be throwing colorful, crunchy leaves up in the air.  It burns up energy and gets them grungy for a nice hot bath!

  22. Light some fall candles or simmer a seasonal brew

    Nothing makes you warm and cozy like walking into a warm home and having it smell like the season ought to.

    Toss some apple slices, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks and some ground nutmeg into a pot of water on the stove.  Try orange peels, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.

    Don’t want to waste produce?  Have some essential oils lying around?  Toss 2 table spoons of coconut oil into a wax warmer and drip some cypress, sandalwood, and white fir to make your home smell like a forest.

    Don’t have the oils?  Get the coconut oil, some pumpkin pie spice and ground nutmeg on the warmer!

  23. Play board games

    You know there are a ton of them in that one closet.  Get them out!  Have a family rivalry, make them use their heads, talk to each other, and strategize.

    Bonus!  You can see what games are missing too many pieces to salvage and can get rid of some stuff!

  24. Make a fall wreath

    Use the pine cones and leaves from your family nature walk, some fabric from your scrap pile, or take a venture to Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or JoAnn and let your kids pick out elements for your front door decor.

  25. Make Cinnamon PlayDoh

    No cook recipe!

    Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar, 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, a few shakes of cinnamon. Add about  1 and a half cups of freshly boiled water (now is the time to add in food coloring if you’d like it to be bright).  Let it cool and play!

    You can also replace the cinnamon with ground cloves, ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or anything else you can think of!  Experiment!  This is not a costly craft!

  26. DIY your Halloween Costumes

    I know what you’re thinking, I don’t sew!  I don’t have the skills!  Worry not, you’re not making a Project Runway gown.

    It’s great to see what your kids come up with and most times, it saves you money!  Halloween stores and websites overcharge for a highly duplicated costume that tons of kids will be wearing.  I know I saw a sea of Harley Quinn twins last Halloween and eons of Elsa’s a few years ago.

    Get their creative juices flowing and they’ll end up with a one of a kind costume!

  27. Leaf rubbing with crayons

    Take some of the leaves from your nature walk and place them under a sheet of paper, take the wrappers off of your autumn colored crayons and let the kids go to town creating simple art for you.  No coloring within the lines required.

    Seasonal Food and Drinks to Make:

  28. Apple cider

    Dive into Pinterest and look for a fun crock pot Apple Cider recipe.  Great for a family gathering or a fun evening of board games or movies or baking fun seasonal treats.

    Bonus! It makes your house smell incredible!

    Extra Bonus:  You can make some spiked cider or hot toddies for Mom and Dad!

  29. Baked pumpkin seeds

    Grab a few hand fulls of pumpkin seeds during the carving madness and throw it into a colander in the sink and run some water to rinse and separate the seeds.

    Preheat oven to 400.  Throw a cup of seeds in a pan with 3-4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes, drain, spread out on greased sheet, sprinkle with some melted butter and salt and pepper or cinnamon and sugar.

    Bake anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes depending on how large the seeds are and how many you have.  Keep an eye and as soon as they start to turn brown, pull them out and enjoy!

  30. Pumpkin chili

    There are tons of great recipes out there.  This is a great treat for those seeking a delicious fall recipe that isn’t chock full of sugar.

  31. Pumpkin pancakes or Pumpkin cinnamon rolls

    What better way to wake your kids up on the weekend than with something delicious wafting through their air and tickling their noses?

  32. Pumpkin bread

    Every time you’ve ever tried to make bread at home, has it come out burnt or dry or goopy?  If you’re one to leave it to the pros, every bakery will have seasonal goodies saving you time and heart ache.

    If you’re a baker at heart, Pinterest is crawling with recipes for regular pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread… my mouth is watering just listing them.

  33. Candied apples

    I have terrible teeth and the thought of these makes me want to cringe. Trying to eat these delicious treats growing up was no pleasure and all pain.  Until recently when some genius decided the show the world that you can slice the apples before dipping or coating them and make them easy to eat!

    Most grocery stores have candied apple kits near the apples in the produce section… just look down!  If you’re hardcore and wouldn’t DARE use a KIT, grab a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits, melt and dip or drizzle your slices.  You can add melted chocolate, nuts, broken up Halloween candy, or whatever you please!

    Pro Tip:  If you have little ones or want a pretty easy party snack, grab your melon baller at the back of your kitchen drawer and make little apple balls, throw a tooth pick in them, dip them and voila!  Mini candied apples!

  34. Cookies with fall shaped cookie cutters

    Look in the baking section for them to put out the cookie cutters for the season!  Leaves, pumpkins, witches, cats, ghosts, spiders, etc.

    If you don’t want to dish out the change for new, seasonal specific cookie cutters, see what you already have in the pantry.  You can turn a Santa silhouette or tulip up side down and decorate it as a ghost.  Turn a gingerbread man into a mummy or skeleton or a witch.  You can just make plain circles or squares and give your kids a blank canvas for their imaginations to run wild!

    This is a great activity for people who want to throw everything pumpkin-spiced in the trash!  You can make cookies in your favorite flavor and have a blast cutting them out and decorating with the kids.

  35. Rice Krispy Treats

    You can make these all year round and the recipe is on every box of the cereal!  But how is this a fall activity?  You can make them into fun shapes and decorate them with fun colored melting chocolate!

    These are great for parties!  You can make them bite sized or huge.  Keep them plain or make them into a fun shape and douse them in melted chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled candy for an impressive treat!

  36. Pumpkin pie

    It’s a classic and you may as well get some practice in before you have to bring it over to mom’s house for Thanksgiving.  People are usually making this once a year and it’s disappointing if it doesn’t turn out right.

    If you want to be fancy, you can grab an extra pumpkin at the patch and make pumpkin puree from scratch for pie, bread, etc.   If you want to be that fancy… you go, Glen Coco!

    Bonus:  Get your can of pumpkin pie mix before the Thanksgiving rush!

  37. Apple pie

    My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  Kids love getting their hand dirty in the kitchen… so let them!

    Put the kids to work peeling the apples, you chop them, let them find and measure the other ingredients and mix the sugars and apples by hand, you put it in the oven while they put the ingredients back where they belong and start on dishes!

    If you’re not a crust person, like myself, go for an easy apple crisp.  Place the apple filling directly into a greased glass 9×9 and throw the buttery, sugary crisp on top!  Easy peasy!

  38. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

    A delightful treat you can keep in the cookie jar the whole season!
    Want to be lazy?… Yes, please!

    1 15 ounce can of cooked Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix), 1 box of Betty Crocker Spice Cake, a bag of chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are always the best!).  Preheat oven to 350, spoon out the combination on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.

    BAM!  Cookies in about 15 minutes and not a single measuring cup or spoon was used!!


So there you have it!  38 fun family activities for this season!  If you’re going to be a Pinterest-Perfect Mom and accomplish every single one of these, I give you serious props!  I’m going to try… but doubt that a 9 month old, full time work schedule and unplanned sickness will allow it to happen!  I’ll be sure to come back and update this post with pictures as we get things checked off the list!

If you’d like to accomplish a couple of these, I have them written down and planned out for you on our printable calendar so you don’t have to remember!  No need to argue on what to do this weekend!  It’s already on the calendar!

October_Family_Activity Calendar PDF

Happy Fall and enjoy your family time!

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

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