Super Sparkly Christmas Ornaments

My daughter is SO excited about Christmas this year! She is finally old enough to fully understand what is going on. The moment that Thanksgiving was over and I gave her the green light to start getting ready for Christmas, she was all about decorating and making crafts. It’s a great way to entertain her during the day as well and it has really helped to cut back on screen time.

Our first official Christmas craft was to make these ornaments for our tree.My mom was visiting for Thanksgiving and helped the kids with this project. It was fun!

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We made a salt based dough with cinnamon scent based on a recipe we found on another blog with some slight modifications:

http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1057575/stocking-stuffers-you-can-make-with-kids

*Rather than cutting holes in the shapes for twine to hang them, I chose to glue ribbon loops to the back of each one, this way they lay flat and do not twist and turn once hung on the tree.

*Because my kids were too impatient to let the paint dry, and then apply glue prior to glitter, we applied the glitter directly to the wet paint, hoping that it would be enough to make the glitter stick. In hind sight, I should have mixed some glue in or used a spray glue after we glittered to really set the glitter prior to hanging, because the glitter is already beginning to come off. Learn from my mistakes!

Here is a summary of our materials used and methods

Materials:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup very warm water

10 drops cinnamon fragrance oil (more or less depending on personal preference) or cinnamon powder is oil is unavailable.

Glitter

Paint and brushes

Elmer’s Glue

Ribbon or twine

Glue gun (if available)

 

Method:

Combine the flour, salt and warm water. Mix until fully combined and dough forms.

Add the fragrance oil or cinnamon powder. Nead in.

Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick (use a lightly floured surface and roller).

Cut various shapes using cookie cutters. We found great cookie cutters for $1 each at Sur La Table!

Place the shapes on a cookie baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees F for 2.5 hours.

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Let your child or children have fun painting the shapes with non-toxic paint! Mix in a little glue to help the glitter stick or have an adult apply spray adhesive after the glitter is applied. Apply glitter and voila! Super sparkly shapes!

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The hardest part will be waiting for these to dry. My son loved checking on them and he kept asking if they were ready to go up.

Prior to hanging, glue the twine or ribbon loops onto the back of each ornament. A hot glue gun would be quickest but you can also just use lots of ol’ fashioned Elmer’s Glue.

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Once dry, hang on your tree and be proud of your work!

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Glitter Sample Pack

Nordic Ware 15 Piece Cookie Cutters

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Drosophila Trap

It’s summer and that means lots of delicious fruit is in season! And, if your home is anything like mine, we always have to have fresh fruit available for our essentially fruitarian children. This combined with our warmer temperatures and indoor food waste bin, means that we have basically created an ideal breeding ground for fruit flies (aka drosophila), ack!

I tried using a commercially available trap and it caught some flies but then stopped working. It was pretty inexpensive, can’t remember exactly but under $5. However it could add up quickly when you have to keep replacing them every few days to remain fly free. Luckily, a friend told me about this DIY trap. I realize that this is not my invention by any means, but it works so well that I wanted to share this with you in case you are in a similar position. Plus, I’ve been working out the kinks to get it to work optimally!

So here you go:

How to make a drosophila trap

What you’ll need:

Glass jars (clean and odor free)

Apple cider vinegar (unfiltered is key!! Braggs brand or knock off equivalent work best)

Dish Soap (citrus scent or possibly other fruity scent, but lavender scent did not work as well, environmentally friendly solutions work well and are better for our oceans)

Paper (any kind will do from printer paper to card stock, not sure if color reduces effectiveness, so to be safe stick with white)

Tape (clear scotch tape works fine)

Instructions:

Add a drop of soap and some apple cider vinegar to your glass jar. You should have about 3/4-1″ of liquid on the bottom. Adding a little water is fine but it should smell strongly of vinegar.

Make a cone out of paper and add a piece of tape to retain shape. Trim down excess paper. Place in jar and tape into place.

Set your traps near fruit or other fly hotspots and trap some flies!

Don’t forget to empty your traps and start fresh every few days while flies persist. They become ineffective at attracting more once a few dead ones have been sitting there for a while. My guess is that once dead, the flies release a repellent. If you dump them out and start fresh,  the traps start working again. Happy drosophila trapping!