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Sweet and Simple Baby Jesus Ornament

My kids have made so many cute baby jesus crafts for Christmas over the years. Each one holds a special place in my heart. So when it came time to make a Christmas ornament this year, I wanted to think up something a little unique - or as unique as possible. When I was little, I made an ornament a little tiny toy baby inside and walnut shell and covered it with a little scrap of cloth. That's the inspiration for this year's baby jesus ornament.  

Here's how you and your kids can make their own sweet and simple baby jesus ornament:

Supplies you will need:
Brown card stock paper sized 5x7
Scissors or paper cutter
Hole punch or "crop-a-dile" crop-a-dile (affiliate link)
2 brads 
1 cotton ball
Several inches of string or fishing line
1 small peg doll (affiliate link) or wood bead 
1 small scrap of cloth
1 gold star beads (affiliate link)

Directions to make a baby jesus ornament for kids:
  1. Start by cutting your brown paper into 1/2 thick, 5 inch long strips. 
  2. Hole punch at each end. I used a "crop-a-file" for this step. While not necessary, it did make it faster. If you are making these with a sunday school or class, you can easily have the strips pre-cut and pre-punched.
  3. Next, fasten both hole-punched ends with a brad.
  4. At this point you may also want to add some string to the outside edge of one of the brads, to create a little place for it to hang from. 

5. Starting at one end, gently fan out the strips. It should start to curve outward until they make a semi-circle.

It should look like this. This is the manger.

Oops! forgot to add the string to the top first! 

6. Pull apart the cotton ball a little, thinning it out just enough to make a little bed to 
7. Using liquid school glue or your adhesive of choice, glue the cotton ball inside the manger.

8. Next wrap or swaddle a peg doll tightly with some scrap cloth, securing the cloth with some glue or a small safety pin. Safety pin not advised for kids under four.

If your peg doll is too light because well, baby jesus wasn't white, you can make your peg doll darker by tea-staining or painting the baby's head with thinned brown paint. We tried both and went with the brown paint.

 9. Lastly, hang a star bead from the inside top of the manger, hooking it under the ends of the brad. secure with glue as desired.

 That's it! Hang your baby jesus ornament on your Christmas tree.



9 Fun and Interesting Reindeer Facts

Did you know that Reindeer have beards? Yep, they do! My family and I learned all about Reindeer last night at the holiday Christmas celebration at SeaWorld San Diego. It's all they could talk about all the way home. Here are some more fun and interesting facts about reindeer from the caretakers inside Santa's Village at Seaworld San Diego.
  • Reindeer are part of the caribou family of mammals.
  • Reindeer are herbivores and eat a variety of vegetation including pine branches, moss and wild mushrooms.
  • Reindeer have "beards" of tufts of thick hair that protect their neck from the cold.
  • The hair on a reindeer's body is hollow, which helps with insulation.
  • Reindeers have furry noses. This helps protect their nose from the cold. If their nose was wet like a regular deer, it would freeze.
  • Reindeers hooves click when they walk, this helps them find their way back to their herd and where the Christmas song line "Up on the housetop, click, click, click" comes from.
  • Reindeers shed their antlers every year and it doesn't hurt them.
  • Reindeer antlers are made of boney calcium rice substance, but they are missing the marrow that is found in mammal bones inside the body. 
  • Reindeer are quit docile animals and can be trained to come when called.

Thanks to our friends at SeaWorld San Diego for the sneak peek of all the fun that can be had at the San Diego theme park over the Christmas season including visiting the most famous reindeer of all, Rudolf!


Our Favorite Christmas Movies on Netflix

Our family loves Christmas movies. We try and sit down together and watch a fun Christmas movie at least once a week during the holiday season. We snuggle up with a blanket, popcorn, and usually a streaming movie. Here are our favorite Christmas movies on Netflix streaming.

White Christmas (G) - This old time favorite from the 1950's is considered a classic. Two WWII buddies fall for two sisters and enust the help of their friends to honor their former commanding officer. Starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Danny Kay.

Miracle on 34th Street (G) - This charming reboot of the 1947 classic is a heart warmer. When Starring Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott and a young Mara Wilson. Wilson as Susan and Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus steal the show.

Christmas With the Kranks (PG) - Tim Allen and Jamie Curtis in a hilarious take on what happens when Mr . and Mrs. Krank attempt to skip Christmas. We haven't watched this in a while, not sure if it is suitable for very young ones - but probably good for preteens and up.

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (G) - Kelsey Grammar narrates this modern Disney classic. The Gift of the Magi with a Mickey spin and two other stories that a perfect for kids and adults who love Disney.

Journey to The Christmas Star (G) - This sweet and little known Norwegian christmas movie follows a young 14 year old girl named sonja as she seeks to find a missing princess and along the way finds herself.

Snow Day (PG) - What happens when the town shuts down for a snow day and all the trouble kids can get into along the way. We haven't seen this one yet, but we are adding it to our Christmas movie list for this year.

Joseph and Mary (TV-PG) - A little bit of twist on the nativity Christmas story in this faith-based Christmas starring Kevin Sorbo.

While You Were Sleeping: What happens when Sandra Bullock saves a man after he hits his head on the subway tracks. She falls in love of course. Not your typical Christmas movie, but a great rom com.

Did I miss any of your favorite Christmas movies on Netflix? Which ones would you add to this list?


New Pokemon Games For Kids on Nintendo 3DS

If you ask my son, he will tell you that the best Pokemon Nintendo 3DS game is Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. That is, until Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon come out in just a day or so. He's made it crystal clear that what he wants for Christmas is the Nintendo 3DS game Pokemon Sun. Pokemon is his jam. Nintendo 3DS is his jam. He's definitely a gamer. 

He even won a Nintendo 3DS battle at the Nintendo #3dsKidForaDay Party during ComicCon.

He really wants the Pokemon Sun for Nintendo 3DS which releases November 18th, just in time for Christmas. He keeps calling me over whenever he sees a commercial "That's the one, Mom!" He knows all there is to know about Pokemon, or at least it feels that way. For Pokemon Sun and Moon, Nintendo brings the Pokemon world to life with dual worlds and dual epic Pokemon battles - each with their own unique set of pokemon characters with exclusive moves!

And if your gamer doesn't have a Nintendo 3DS or you are thinking of upgrading for Christmas, you might want to check out the new Nintendo #DS XL Pokemon Solgaleo Lunala Black edition
The 3DS XL comes with so many great features like face tracking, new controls, built in Amiibo support, faster processing power, easy data sharing, upgrade ability and more. And I'm pretty sure if you have a little Pokemon fan they will love it for the sole reason to have more ways to experience and interact with their favorite characters through Nintendo's array of Pokemon 3DS games. Click over to see the details on the new games and have the kids watch the game trailer.

Disclosure: We were given a Nintendo 3DS game system to review and play the Pokemon Alpha Sapphire for 3DS in exchange for our thoughts. All opinions are my own and yes, my son really does want Pokemon Sun 3DS for Christmas. And p.s. we just love Nintendo. 


Get Faster Internet with Gigablast from Cox

(This post is in partnership with Cox California.) 

How important is fast, reliable internet service to you? This week I was invited down to the penthouse suite at the Pinnacle building in downtown San Diego to find out just how much Cox's new Gigablast internet speed can handle inside the Cox Smart Home. You might recognize the name Gigablast from Cox's well-known poignant television commercials.

My tour of the Cox Smart Home featured a variety of high-tech experiences:

  • Food blogger Whitney Bond making some delicious bites.
  • Professional violinist, Jason Yang giving a virtual violin lesson to some students across the globe via Skype.
  • Telemedicine via a demonstration of a virtual physical therapy module.
  • Gamer and college student Tyler Burnette playing on a customized PC with ultra hi-def graphics.
  • Meat slow cooking in a Char-Broil WiFi enabled smoker.
  • Smart Pet Feeder with a built in webcam and connected via Wi-Fi.
  • A virtual golf swing simulator and demo.
  • STEAM Education - A young student learning via virtual reality goggles about science and STEAM based interactive projects.
  • Cox HomeLife 
  • Cox Contour Smart TV

So pretty much every lifestyle that depends on fast reliable internet was represented and they were all simultaneously accessing Cox's highest speed internet, Gigablast. That's a lot of devices, consoles and appliances using the same data without a single interruption. I was surprised and seriously impressed by what I saw.

Gigablast, with it's 1 Gigabit of power per household, boasts impressive download speeds up to 100 times faster than the average broadband.
That's comparable to:
  • 1 next-gen video game in 3 minutes
  • 10 HD movies in 7 minutes
  • 100 itunes downloads in 3 seconds
  • 1,000 photos in 16 seconds
I'm intrigued by what Gigablast can do. We use internet for homeschool, work, and leisure. Our download speeds could use a boost and I'm wondering if we need an upgrade.

Gigablast is rolling out into Southern California (as well as some other areas where Cox is available). You can find out more about Gigablast and check availibity by clicking here.