Musical Bells

I went back and forth in my mind over purchasing this bell set for my children.  It sold out in our local toy store, but I found it online and decided to buy them for Christmas.

I’m SO glad I did.  We love them.

The bells go from middle C up an octave to C.  On the end of each handle is a sticker that says what note that bell plays, and they came with a music page that has each note written in the same color as the corresponding bell.

The color coding makes it easy for young children to easily play songs they recognize, like Jingle Bells and Old MacDonald had a Farm.  We got them out in Denver and had a bunch of us gathered around the card, each holding a separate bell.

It’s also been fun to watch two of my daughters play the bells alone, lining them up in order and picking up each bell when it’s needed.  I’ve enjoyed seeing my younger children who aren’t currently taking music lessons enjoy these bells and begin to learn about notes and how they work.

I found that the bells make a very pleasant sound.  I don’t mind hearing them, which is a plus!  It’s been a great indoor activity for the past week, with the exception of moments like this:

Why?  Why do teenage boys enjoy things like this so much?

As for me, I love the rainbow of colors.  If you’re interested, I purchased mine here .  I plan to use them a lot with my preschoolers this winter.

On a happier note, the children decided to use these bells to ring in the New Year instead of banging pots and pans.  Happy pandemonium.

Hope your day is great!


Marshmallow Snowmen

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but at my house there is snow on the ground and it’s bitterly cold outside.  To make matters worse, the school my elementary age children attend had a water main break just before Christmas and the school flooded.  We’ve got an extra week of Christmas vacation as a result.  It means we’ve got to keep busy indoors, so I thought I’d share some of the activities we’re using to keep life interesting.

Here’s an inexpensive craft that kids of all ages can make in a matter of minutes.

Introducing marshmallow snowmen.

We made these in Denver, as well, with most of the grandchildren participating.   You only need three things to make them:  stick pretzels, large marshmallows and food markers.

Here’s how to do it:

Each snowman needs three marshmallows and two pretzels.  Choose a marshmallow with a nice flat end to use on the bottom so your snowman will easily stand up.  Stick one pretzel down into the middle of the marshmallow.

Add a second marshmallow, pushing down enough that there’s some pretzel sticking out the top.

Add the last marshmallow to the top.

Break the remaining pretzel in half and stick them into the sides of the middle marshmallow for arms.

Using the food markers, draw a face on the top marshmallow.  If you don’t already have some, you can find them at WalMart for under $5.00 a set.  Just remember that once you open them, they need to be stored in your refrigerator.  Remember that these markers are basically food coloring, so do whatever you need to do to protect clothing and remind children how to use them correctly.

And the personalities appear!

I was surprised at how much everyone enjoyed this activity.  I loved how fast and easy they were to make.  No one lost interest.

Some of our snowmen looked like they’d been playing snowman games.

I like the top hat on this one.

In all, this was a perfect activity for kids.  Aside from buying the supplies, there was no prep work.  It took me only a minute or two to demonstrate making one for the kids and they were all able to make a snowman they liked.  And the cleanup?  Easy.  Simply eat your own snowman!

I hope you’ll try it on some snowy day…

Hopeful Homemaker

Burlap Wreath DIY

My sister came to town unexpectedly last weekend, so I decided a quick craft project was in order.
After bumping into this post recently, I decided to try making my own burlap wreath.

burlap wreath

I bought a yard of burlap and found an old wire hanger, and we were set to go.  (sorry about the lighting, we made these late at night.)

burlap and hanger

Open the hanger and shape it into a circle.

Next we cut the burlap into 4 inch strips.

strips of burlap

Then we just started folding the burlap back and forth….

and poking one end of the hanger through the middle.

Continue doing this until you’ve used every strip of burlap.

Your last step is to twist the ends of the hanger to close the wreath.

burlap wreath 2

Lessons learned:
I probably should have made the wreath even smaller, because when I picked it up the burlap seemed to slide down and make the wreath seem bottom heavy.  Either that, or more than 1 yard of burlap should have been used.

We got around this by simply taking small pieces of scotch tape and taping them around the hanger at intervals to prevent the burlap from sliding.  This allowed the burlap to stay evenly spread around the entire wreath.

Finished product:

burlap wreath 3

Total cost:  $2.47 for one yard of burlap at Wal Mart.  Total time:  about 30 minutes.

1 2 3