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Collections For Kids – How To Chronicle Those Memories

I know it is hard to believe, but here comes Christmas!  And, with the dawn of the holiday season looming in front of us, it is time for me to get busy on our traditional ornament purchase.

Each year, since the birth of our first son, we purchase an ornament for each child, one that suits their year.  For my older son’s first Christmas, it was an engraved silver cradle (he was 4 months old at the time).  For his second, a glass yellow duckie, just like a bathtub duckie that he loved to chew on and play with.  The following Christmas brought a snowman ornament as we experienced our first snow that year, and then came the line of baseball Santas, soccer Santas, football Santas – whatever the sport du jour was for the year.

With my second son, we honored his first Christmas with the same silver cradle, engraved with his name and birthday.  Each subsequent Christmas brought items similar to his brother’s: a Santa ornament, a tricycle ornament, and last year, a puppy ornament.  Each year marked with a special ornament to help spark those memories of some wonderful occurrance during the year.

It is a tradition in our family, this ornament-of-the-year bit that we’ve started.  And, it makes for a wonderful collection.  Collections can be just about anything.  When I was born, my grandmother started an add-a-pearl necklace for me: each year, she added a pearl until I was eighteen.  When I got married, I wore those pearls with my wedding dress.  It is a sentimental and irreplacable collection of memories of my grandmother as well as memories of each year that the pearls mark. 

What special items, if any, do you collect for your child?  Baseball cards?  Photographs?  Ticket stubs from events?  Share with us some of your favorite ideas for remembering those fleeting childhood days with your children.

Holiday Craft For Kids: Cinnamon Ornament

Here’s a great idea for cute, inexpensive yet personal gifts for relatives, friends, teachers and even yourself.  Your kids will have a BLAST making them and giving them away.  They make beautiful tie-ons for gifts, ornaments for trees, or even a hanging air freshener for your car.

For Cinnamon Ornaments, you just need two ingredients: a cup of applesauce and 1 (4.12 oz) bottle of ground cinnamon.  Combine these two ingredients in a mixing bowl.  It will become quite doughy, so be prepared to mix by hand.  It is a lot like making bread!  Once the two ingredients are well-mixed, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Don’t make it too thin or the ornaments will break.  Use cookie cutters to cut the dough in whatever shapes you would like.  Use a straw to punch a hole in the top of each ornament.  Set aside on a cookie sheet or other smooth, solid surface to dry.  It takes about 2-3 days for the ornaments to fully dry out.  I like to turn mine over after a day or so to make sure they dry evenly.

Once the ornaments are completely dry, tie them up with a pretty ribbon for hanging.  This recipe makes quite a few ornaments, depending on the size of the cookie cutters you are using, so get ready to give plenty away!

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