December 21, 2011

Capture a Video of Santa Claus at your House!

I originally posted about the in my Five Fun Ideas for Holiday Magic  post. Now, I just wanted to share it again since Santa will be arriving in a few days and you might want to make sure the elves have everything they need to record Santa's visit.  ;)

Because it only takes a few minutes to do and I'll get my video emailed to me instantly, I'm going to wait until our living room is all set up on Christmas Eve. Then, while I sleep, the elves will video Santa visiting our house. On Christmas Day, our Elf on the Shelf will leave a message showing the kids the video evidence of Santa in our living room. (It will be the last thing our Elf does before his magic ends for the year).

UPDATE: I did this last night (we get our gifts from Santa a day early so we can travel) and it was a huge hit.  Super easy to do and the kids LOVED it.   

I think this link should take you to our video. (Ignore the clutter in my living room, Santa never seems to send his cleaning elves to help me out!)

I can't wait to see the kids' reactions when they see Santa walking through our house!!

. Screenshot of Video Creation 

Oh, and on the homepage for there's a link for you to go to their Facebook page and save $4!

December 16, 2011

Elf on the Shelf Ideas ~ Week 2

The fun with our Elf is continuing...  (see his antics earlier this month)

Day 11 ~ He put up our Christmas wreath on the door
and then kept watch over the front yard.

Day 12 ~ He made a batch of 
yummy Christmas tree cookies for 
the kids to take to school.

Day 13 ~ Going for a joy ride in the playroom!

Day 14 ~ The kids were surprised to find him in the fridge next to Mommy's coffee cream!

Day 15 ~ The Elf left us the ingredients and directions to make some yummy Christmas Tree desserts.

Busy decorating...

... and then busy enjoying their desserts!

Day 16 ~ The kids thought this was hysterical!
(Mommy thinks it's good there's only 9 days until Christmas
if the elf has resorted to cross-dressing ;)  )

Hope your elves are having fun too!
Make sure to check out 
our Elf Ideas party for even more inspiration.

December 15, 2011

Shadowbox Banks (to save for something special)

My kids don't usually write up long or detailed wish lists for Santa.  However, this year all three of them requested an iPod Touch for Christmas (after seeing several friends and cousins with them recently).  Like most of us, though, Santa is on a budget this year.  Even one iPod would be stretching it, so three iPods would be out of the question.

Luckily, Santa's elves had a very clever solution that I think will be the next best thing to an actual iPod under the tree.  The elves shared with me what they did in their workshop and I really like the way they turned out.

Look at this smart solution...

Here's what the elves did:

 (Excuse the fact that the pictures switch between the three different banks, those silly elves kept getting sidetracked during the photo-taking process)

1.  Pick up a shadowbox frame (they used a 5x7" one) and make up a picture of the special something to save for (the elves got an iPod image from the Apple website and used Picnik to design the 5x7" picture)

By the way, did you know that Santa's elves
often pick up the supplies they need
at regular stores when they're closed for the night
and all the people and employees have left?
That's how the elves picked up these frames on sale at JoAnn's!

2.  Cut out your picture to fit your shadowbox and cut a small opening for the money.

3.  Line up your picture with the backing for the shadowbox (these were made out of foam board) and then cut a money slot in that as well.

4.  The elves thought these banks might be able to used to save for other special items in the future, so they just put a little bit of glue around the money slot to adhere the picture to the backing.  This way, once they've saved for their iPods, the kids can simply replace the picture and start saving for something else.

5.  That's it!  Put it all together and your shadowbox bank is ready to go!

Just put your money in from the back...

... and with each deposit, you're one step closer to buying that something special!

Santa's elves told me that each frame was only $4 on sale and Santa said he would probably put $10 in change and bills in each bank to start the kids on their way.  Santa's accountants were very happy that he was spending $42 instead of $600+ and I think the kids will learn a valuable lesson about saving for the things they want most! 


December 14, 2011

Unexpected Delay

I was all set to make some special gifts for my kids and just needed to print a few things that I needed.  Unfortunately, as soon as I went to print out the first sheet, I noticed that the printer was jammed and no paper would feed through.  After nearly an hour and a half of picking through the inner workings of my printer with a pair of tweezers, a long pin and a popsicle stick , this is what I uncovered stuck inside...

Yes, that's nearly 75 crumpled, printer ink-stained paper punched stars that somehow made their way into every nook and cranny of the inside of the printer.  While I certainly admire the creativity of my kids and love the projects they create with a variety of craft supplies, I was not pleased with where all these little paper stars had ended up!

Fortunately, it was not one of my own three kids, but the 4th child living in our house, "Not Me".

NOTE: When I just went searching for the "Not Me' character from the great Family Circus cartoons, I discovered that the creator Bil Keane just recently passed away in November.  :(

December 10, 2011

Elf on the Shelf Ideas ~ Week One

Last week, I shared our fun  
that our Elf planned for us to start 
the month of December.  
Here's what he's been up to since December 1st...

 Day 2 ~ Caught in the corner of the living room making Q-tip snowflakes.

 Day 3 ~ Found sitting on the shelf in my son's room.

 Day 4 ~ Sneaking chocolate chips in the pantry.

 Day 5 ~ Left us a message on our dry erase calendar

 Day 6 ~ He switched our shower curtain to our Winter Snowflake one,
then took a shower himself.

 Day 7 ~ Taking a little break for an Elf mani/pedi 
in the girls' room.

Day 8 ~ He left us a cute 
Candycane Garden Planting Kit.

Day 9 ~ Unfortunately, he could only leave us a note and no special candy canes grew :(

Day 10 ~ Luckily the next day was better 
and some M&M-filled candy canes 
grew in the Candycane Garden.

The fun continued the following week ~ check it out HERE!

Have your elves been having fun?
Make sure to visit our Elf on the Shelf Idea party for some North Pole inspiration.

December 9, 2011

10 Crafts and Activities for Boys

December always seems to be the month for "Best of" lists.  
So, with my almost 8-year old son's help, 
I've compiled this collection of 10 of the best "Boy-Approved" 
crafts and activities we've done here at Come Together Kids.  
So many times crafty projects seem to appeal to girls more than boys, especially once the boys get a little older.

The following list is in no particular order, 
but each item has been given 
my son's seal of approval!

1.  Magical Playdoh Mix

I think the "magical" aspect of this mix, 
with the color and scent being revealed 
as we add the boiling water 
is what makes it so appealing every time we make it.

My son LOVED how far this contraption 
launched the marshmallows.

3.  Hot Car Crayons

Making crayons in the oven is fun,
but doing it in a hot car added
a certain coolness factor.

It's such a neat principle
and he loved watching the bubbles
each time we added a tablet.

5.  Bubble Snake Maker

Again, such a simple contraption 
but it produces such cool results.

6.  Really Big Bubble Maker

For boys, I think bigger is so often better.
These big bubbles were a big hit.

7.  Glow-in-the-Dark Drinks

Everyone thinks these drinks are awesome,
boys, girls, kids and adults! 

8.  Spongeballs

We've made these several times
for our own family and for playdates.
They've been a blast every time. 


What boy wouldn't love 
this slippery, slimy substance?

10.  Fingerprint Candles

I have to admit, I was a little surprised when my son
added these candles to his Top Ten list.
However, he said he really liked when the 
"drawing melted onto the candle" and
he likes seeing them at the grandparents' houses.

I hope you get some inspiration
for your own boys from my son's list here.
(and don't get me wrong, 
these ideas are perfect for girls too!)

December 7, 2011

Footprint Penguin Wall Hanging

 I originally shared this idea as part of the Christmas Wonderful series at Design Dazzle, and now I'm excited to share it here with you in time for the holidays.

How cute is this group of penguins in their little hats and scarves?  Doesn't the shape of their bodies look familiar?  That's right, they're footprints!  I made this adorable canvas wall hanging for the grandparents last year using the footprints of all the grandchildren.

The project was pretty inexpensive and not too difficult to make at all, but even more importantly, the grandparents loved it! 

Here's what you'll need:

  • plain artist's canvas ( I had a lot of footprints, so I used a 12" x 24" one)
  • two pieces of blue cotton fabric for the background (mine had small prints that somewhat resembled the snow and sky)
  • black cotton fabric for the footprints (mine had a subtle dot pattern)
  • scraps of fleece or felt for the penguin accessories
  • Heat'n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive 
  • acrylic paint for the eyes
  • snowflake buttons (optional)
  • iron and hot glue gun

Here's what to do:

1.  Iron the Heat'n Bond to the wrong side of the blue fabrics.  Overlap the two fabrics slightly to form the "ground" and the "sky".  (I cut a slightly wavy line where the two colors met.)  Cut your fabric a few inches larger than the size of your canvas.  Peel off the paper backing and iron your pieces directly to the front of the canvas.  Wrap the excess fabric around the sides to the back and hot glue in place.

2.  Next, iron the Heat'n Bond to the wrong side of the black fabric. Then trace the child's footprint onto the paper-y side.  Cut out the footprints.  (For an example of how this is done, see a similar post I did with Footprint Butterflies).  Peel off the paper backing again, position your footprints where you want them on the canvas and iron them in place.

3.  Now you'll want to add your penguins' clothing!  I simply cut out pieces of leftover fleece to make little hats and scarves and hot glued them in place.  Then I cut ovals out of white fleece and hot glued them on to form the penguins bellies.


4.  Finally, use a bit of acrylic paint to paint on your penguins' eyes  (I initially planned on using googly eyes, but I liked the look of the painted eyes much better!) and add little triangle noses ( I just glue on a small triangle of orange paper)  I also added a few snowflake buttons in the "sky".

5.  That's it!  Whether you're making just one penguin or a whole waddle (yes, I looked up the term for a group of penguins!), this is a really cute way to use footprints to create some winter art.

I hope you enjoyed our little project (the grandparents loved them last year).  

Sharing our "Happy Feet" at:

December 6, 2011

Kindle Cover from a Hardcover Book

 This isn't a kid-related project, but sometimes parents deserve a special treat too!

NOTE:  For some reason, this page and tutorial is not loading properly for some readers.  If this is the case and you need the step by step directions, just email me at

Last month I treated myself to the new Kindle Fire and I'm loving it so far.  After it arrived, I knew I needed a case to protect my new toy,  but I wasn't about to shell out another 30 or 40 bucks just for a holder.  So, since necessity is the mother of invention, I made my own (and I have to say I like it way better than the more expensive alternative).

Check this out...

And did any observant readers notice that the title of the book is "Laura"?  How cool is that!?!?   

( I picked up the book years ago because of the title.  I don't remember the story being memorable, but I'm glad I held on to it because it's the perfect new Kindle cover for me!)

Okay, now do you want to see how easy it was to make?  It's totally no-sew and costs only a few dollars!

Here's what you'll need:

  • approx. 1/3 yard quilted fabric (mine was reversible)
  • 3/8" iron on adhesive tape ( I used Heat n Bond )
  • 3/8" elastic
  • hard cover book that's a bit bigger than your Kindle
  • glue gun (not pictured!)

Here's what to do:   

(Don't be overwhelmed by the ton of pictures and steps, it's not hard!  I just tried to show each step because I couldn't give measurements since each book will be a different size!)

1.  Cut the pages out of your book. I just used a sharp knife to cut down either side of the spine.

2.  (Optional)  My book was quite a bit thicker than my Kindle, so I ran some hot glue down the edges of the spine and pushed it together to make it a little bit narrower.

See how it's not as thick as the original book now?

3.  Lay your cover open flat and cut your fabric about 1/2" longer than your book, and a little more than one and a half times as wide.


See how there's extra fabric?  That will make your pocket.

4.  Put your Kindle on the book and decide how tall you want your pocket to be so your Kindle fits in, but you can still easily pull it out.  Then add 1/2", and cut across.

5.  Put your iron on tape across the top of your pocket piece and iron in place.

6.  Then cut 1/2" slit at the end of the tape, remove the paper backing, and iron down 1/2" hem.  

(NOTE: You could probably just use hot glue for this too, but I liked how the iron on tape gave me nice straight edges)

See how the iron on hem finishes off the top of the pocket?

7.  Okay, now we're going to get the first side ready.  Cut another 1/2" slit at the top of your pocket so you can finish off the top part of the edge.

8.  Turn your fabric over, put the iron on tape along that top part of the edge, and iron down a 1/2" hem.

Like how I get lazy and use a towel instead of dragging out my ironing board?
9.  Now with the fold of the pocket and the hem on the top part, the left side is finished off.

10.  Put another strip of iron on tape along the left edge, remove the paper and iron the left side of the pocket down.  (This helps keep your device in a little bit from the outside edge of the cover)

11.  Next, put your Kindle in the pocket and decide where its right edge will be so it's a snug fit.  Add 1" to that mark and cut your fabric.

12.  Put your iron on tape on your new cut edge, then iron down a 1/2" hem.

13.  Okay, you're almost finished with the pocket!  Just put the iron on tape on the side and bottom of your pocket, peel off the paper backing and iron in place.

14.  Next, let's finish off the bottom edge!  Just turn your fabric over, put iron on tape along the bottom edge, peel off the paper backing and iron down a 1/2" hem.

15.  Now get that hot glue gun warmed up and let's start attaching our fabric to our book.  ( I decided to glue down two sides, then finish the rest of the edges so it fit the cover perfectly, instead of trying to measure and get everything lined up right).  Glue the left and bottom finished edges to the inside cover of your book making sure the fabric is nicely lined up on the edges.  I glued down the edges and also put some glue to attach the fabric to the inside cover.  

NOTE: Don't glue all the way to the top on the left hand side, you still have to finish off that top edge.

16.  Next, flip your book over and put the iron on tape along the edge of the right side of the book.  Cut off any extra fabric, then iron down your 1/2" hem.  

17. Do the same thing along the top edge of your book ~ put down the iron on tape, and iron down your 1/2" hem. 

18.  Now that your fabric inside has all the edges finished and is the exact size of your book cover, hot glue the rest of it in place.  Your front cover should be pretty much glued down, so just glue the fabric to the spine, the inside of the back cover and the right and top edges.

19.  Now you're really almost finished!  Place your Kindle on the right side opposite the pocket, and cut 4 pieces of the elastic.   Position them so they'll hold the corners of your device, then hot glue them in place.  (removing your Kindle before hot gluing , of course!) 
Sorry about the annoying reflection of our ceiling fan, I was working at night!
That's it!  You're finished!!!  Don't be discouraged by the 19 (yikes!) steps in this tutorial.  The whole project took me less than an hour and I was figuring it out as I went along.

Now you're ready to check out your favorite blog, read a new book, or play a few games.  Your Kindle is well protected and you still have the feel of holding a real book in your hands (because it is a real book cover). Choose a copy of your favorite book and your new e-reader cover is customized for you ~ plus you're saving the $30+ dollars that you would have spent on a plain boring cover from the store.

I have to admit, I'm thrilled with the way this turned out.  I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to do and it actually went according to plan.  I know I'm dating myself and revealing a bit too much about my 80's TV viewing habits here, but "I love it when a plan comes together!"  (Bonus points to anyone who can identify the TV show!)

Sharing my custom cover at:
Tip Junkie handmade projects  
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