Cutting paper snowflakes

Yesterday was the first day of our Advent countdown to Christmas. The night before I wrote out a simple little sentence for the kids and slipped it into the first baby sock of our calendar. I tried to make the sentence easy enough for Tobin to read on his own. I let Tobin try to read the sentence in the morning, but he had trouble with a few words. The sentence read, “Cut out snowflakes to decorate for Christmas with Mommy.” He had a little trouble with both “decorate” and “Christmas,” but he was very happy to have read the rest of it by himself.

Although he enjoyed reading the sentence describing what we’d be doing for the day, Tobin wasn’t too interested in actually making snowflakes. We were having some friends over for a playdate, so he was too excited about that to focus on anything else. He told me he’d “help me make snowflakes later.” 🙂 Stephen however dove right into cutting out snowflakes and happily made oodles of them.

Steve didn't just stick with white paper. He moved on to yellow and blue as well!

At first we used plain old 8.5 x 11 inch printer paper, but I quickly realized that after folding up the paper to prepare it for cutting, it would be too difficult for little hands to easily snip through with scissors, too many layers of paper to try to cut through. Steve and I could manage just fine, but I knew that Tobin and the other kids who would be visiting would probably have a tough time of it.

I remembered reading somewhere that paper coffee filters are good to use for making cut-out snowflakes, so I dug some out from the kitchen cupboard so we could give it a try. The coffee filters worked really well! Because they are already round, there was much less paper waste than when using the regular paper, and when folded, the coffee filter layers were much easier for little hands to cut through than normal paper.

Snowflake cut from a coffee filter

We had a great time cutting out snowflakes with our friends. We probably have enough snowflake cut outs to decorate every window in our house and then some. Our neighbors will probably wonder about us…oh, they probably already do.

Ian seemed to really enjoy making snowflakes with us.

Erin and Tess putting their scissors to work.

Erin's owl-on-a-branch snowflake...

Erin's snowflake with a star-topped Christmas tree and snowman..very cool.

Warren and Tobin opted to skip making snowflakes and played instead, but I'm sure they were thinking of snowflakes the whole time. (Yeah, right...hehe.)

Although Tobin was too busy yesterday to make snowflakes, he wanted to try it this morning. He isn’t great with scissors yet, but he did manage to make a few with my help. He wanted me to make sure to write his name on his so we wouldn’t confuse them with Steve’s.

Tobin's first finished snowflake (with help from mom).

Tobin unfolding a snowflake to see if it's done, as he says.

Apparently, the 8 million snowflakes that Steve cut out yesterday were not enough to bore him of the project, so he took up the scissors and paper again today to make some more. Today, he went more slowly and tried to deliberately plan out his cuts and experimented more with shapes.

Steve is still fascinated with the snowflakes on day 2.

I think we might try painting a few of our coffee filter snowflakes with food coloring sometime this week. We have some glitter glue pens that would be great for livening them up too. I had planned on taping them all to the windows of our house, but I’d like to string some up for a mobile as well.

For those of you who don’t want to dig out the paper and scissors, but still want to make snowflakes, you can try your hand at making some on the computer. There are several websites that you can find to do this, but I particularly liked the one called SnowDays.

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Advent Calendar

I have been wanting to put together a special calendar for Advent for several years now, but this is the first year that I’ve actually managed to get it all thought out and put together before December first rolled around.

I looked at various websites and blogs for ideas and finally settled on a Baby Sock Advent Calendar. There are several different blogs I ran across that posted pictures of finished Baby Sock Advent Calendars, but I believe the idea originally was made popular by Martha Stewart.

You can click here to view the steps for making Martha’s Baby Sock Advent Calendar.

Here is the Baby Sock Advent Calendar that I put together for our family this past Friday night.

Baby Sock Advent Calendar

I purchased most of the baby socks for our Advent calendar from Target. A few of the socks were unmatched strays that I had lying around the house.

I strung the baby socks using wood clothespins and a bulky weight red yarn, things I happened to have lying around the house. I had originally planned to use Christmas-themed ribbon to string the socks on, but the ribbon I wanted to use didn’t seem strong enough, so I switched to the yarn. The socks got kind of heavy, so I needed to buy big push pins from K-Mart to push into my mantle to help hold up the yarn and socks. Fortunately, there were already a bunch of holes in the mantle from a previous owner, so I didn’t have to feel bad about putting holes in the wood. 🙂

I also labeled the top of each clothespin with a number for each day until Christmas. I used a silver Sharpie. You can’t see the numbers too well from far away, but it is just fine close up. I didn’t want to use black because I thought it would be too dark in contrast to the lighter colored socks, and I happened to have the silver marker lying around. Besides, silver is more festive.

My plan is to put something into one of the socks each night before I go to bed, something for the kids to look forward to each morning until Christmas. I plan to use an assortment of things from notes suggesting a fun activity to do for the day to some kind of small, sweet treat. A lot will probably depend on what our schedule for the day is. We probably won’t have time for a complicated holiday art project on days that we have a lot of running to do.

Calendar close-up