Homemade Ornament Swap 2013

I attended a homemade ornament swap today with the attachment parenting group in my area.  It’s a swap I’ve been participating in the past five years or so.  This year I did a paper mache ornament and embellished it with the group name and year.  Added some paint on glitter.  They were less time consuming than some I’ve done in the past but I really needed that after my Jesse Tree ornament swap last month.  Below are a few pictures that I took of the ornaments.

In the basket below are the ornaments that I made for 2013.

Below are the ornaments that I came home with.  Super cute!

My boys made glitter stars for the children’s ornament swap.

All the ornaments from all the groups at the swap.

Our Jesse Tree Ornaments

We had our swap on November 23rd, 2013 and it was a success!  The mom’s loved it and had an enjoyable evening out.  We all came home with 25 unique and beautiful handmade ornaments!  We even made 3 ornaments at the swap and that was perfect.  It gave our hands something to do while we talked.  I would definitely repeat that for a future small swap.  My children had a blast when they found the bag of Jesse Tree ornaments the next morning.  I’m very excited to share with them the Bible story with coordinating ornament each day in December.  Thank you crafty mamas for signing up and for a wonderful evening of chatting and friendship!

JesseTree1JesseTree JesseTree2 JesseTree3 JesseTree4 Baby Jesus Jesse Tree Ornament Joseph's Jesse Tree Ornament

Baby Jesus                                                     Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors

JesseTree8 JesseTree5 JesseTree11

Abraham’s camel and tent            Ruth’s wheat and heart            Jonah and the fish

JesseTree9 JesseTree10

Samuel’s Oil Lamp                                              Jesse Tree

JesseTree12 JesseTree13

Jesse Stump and Elijah’s Altar                       Grapes of Canaan

JesseTree14 JesseTree15

First Sin Apples                                    Announcement of the Gentle Shepherd Sheep

JesseTree16 JesseTree17

Noah’s Ark Rainbow Cloud                                  Jacob’s Ladder

JesseTree20 JesseTree18 JesseTree22

Creation’s Globe              Bethlehem Silhouette               Josiah Finding the Law

JesseTree19 JesseTree21

Isaac’s Bundle of Sticks                                      Moses Burning Bush

JesseTree23 JesseTree24

David’s Sling Shot                            Solomon’s Crown

JesseTree25 JesseTree26

Habakkuk Watch Tower                          Isaiah’s Tongs with Hot Coal

JesseTree27 JesseTree28 JesseTree29 JesseTree30 JesseTree31

Jesse Tree Ornament Swap

Sign Up Information for this swap is at the bottom of this post. Deadline to sign up is 10pm on Friday, November 11th, 2013.

I’ve been looking at advent calendars for the past couple years.  I’ve been trying to figure out if I wanted to make one or buy one and what was most important to our family in a Christmas advent calendar.  During my search on pinterest I came across these beautiful ornaments sold on Etsy.  They were a collection of Jesse Tree ornaments.  I immediately loved the idea.  My plan is to make something to hold the ornaments and then each day of advent our family will discuss the ornament meaning and hang it on our Christmas tree.  It will be a fun activity for our children and a wonderful reminder from lessons we learned all year.

What is a Jesse Tree?

“The Jesse Tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots.”  It is a vehicle to tell the Story of God in the Old Testament, and to connect the Advent Season with the faithfulness of God across 4,000 years of history. The Branch is a biblical sign of newness out of discouragement, which became a way to talk about the expected messiah (for example, Jer 23:5). It is therefore an appropriate symbol of Jesus the Christ, who is the revelation of the grace and faithfulness of God.”  Source

What are the Daily Themes?

There are several different versions of Jesse Tree daily themes and readings.  One version is in the chart found at this link.  Another version is available in a pdf booklet you can print from Ann Voskamp.  There is also a booklet from the Inspired Traditions Etsy ornaments that I initially found.  At the end of this post are several ideas for the days of advent and suggestions for what to do for an ornament.  The sign up list for the ladies night Jesse Tree ornament swap on November 23rd, 2013 at 7pm hosted in Lee’s Summit, Missouri is listed at the bottom of this post as well.

Samples of Jesse Tree ornaments:

Of course there are tons of ideas on Pinterest but here are a few examples I compiled that I really like the quality of.  Handmade ornaments don’t have to cost very much.  Quality ornaments are the ones that the creator spent time and put lots of love and detail into.

The stump below is personalized with the family’s name.  Very neat.  And the lion and the lamb are on reverse sides of the same ornament representing the peace between lion and lamb.  Cool!

jessetree3jessetree jessetree1 jessetree2  

Jesse Tree Ornament Swap Sign Up!

Join us for a Ladies Night!  Bring a snack or dessert to share, your ornaments in a container, and your wonderful self!  We will swap ornaments in the Lee’s Summit area(TBD) on November 23rd at 7pm.  Message me on Facebook or comment on this blog post to join in the fun!  We need 12 people to sign up and we will each make 12 of 2 different ornaments.  Please tell me your first and second choice when signing up.  The ornament options are listed below.  If the options are crossed out someone has already selected it.  If you have a great idea that isn’t listed here please let me know and I will add it or sign you up for it.  😉

Jesse Tree-Tree, Creation-Globe or Dove, First Sin- Apple Tree or Snake on Apple, Noah-Ark or Rainbow, Abraham- Tent or Camel, Isaac-Ram or Altar or Bundle of Logs, Jacob-Ladder, Joseph-Grain or Coat, Moses-Burning Bush or Staff or Lamb or 10 Commandments, Canaan-Grapes, Ruth-Wheat, Joshua-Horn or Wall, Samuel-Heart or Oil Lamp, David-Shepherd Staff or Lamb or Sling Shot or Harp, Solomon-Crown, Elijah-Altar or Pillar of Fire, Jesse Stump-Stump with Leaf, Daniel-Lion, Jonah-Whale, Bethlehem- City Silhouette with Stars, Esther-Scepter, Josiah-Scroll, Isaiah-Tongs with Hot Coal, Habakkuk-Watch Tower, Elizabeth & Zachariah- Couple or Tablet with Chalk, John-Shell, Mary-Lilly, Joseph-Tools, Travel-Sandals or Donkey, Announcement-Angels or Sheep, Birth of Jesus-Star or Baby Jesus or Manger

Group One

  1. Abraham-Camel: Brookie-Lee(1st Choice)
  2. First Sin-Apple: Brookie-Lee(2nd Choice)
  3. Noah- : Morgan J. (1st Choice)
  4. Announcement-Lamb: Morgan J. (2nd Choice)
  5. Joseph-Coat of Many Colors: Julie G. (1st Choice)
  6. Moses-Burning Bush: Julie G. (2nd Choice)
  7. David-Sling Shot: Amber A. (1st Choice)
  8. Josiah-Note in Bulb: Amber A. (2nd Choice)
  9. Elijah- : Heather B.
  10. Jesse-Stump: Heather B.
  11. Isaac-Bundle of Logs: Rebecca G.
  12. Bethlehem-Silhouette & Stars: Rebecca G.
  13. Creation: Jennifer J (1st Choice)
  14. Jacob: Jennifer J. (2nd Choice)
  15. Jesse Tree-Tree: Melanie D. (1st Choice)
  16. Samuel-Oil Lamp: Melanie D. (2nd Choice)
  17. Solomon-Crown: Teri P. (1st Choice)
  18. Birth of Jesus-Baby Jesus: Teri P. (2nd Choice)
  19. Habakkuk-Watch Tower: Joni R. (1st Choice)
  20. Isaiah-Tongs with Hot Coal: Joni R. (2nd Choice)
  21. Ruth-Wheat: Brookie-Lee(3rd Choice)
  22. Jonah-Large Fish: Brookie-Lee(4th Choice)
  23. John-Shell: GROUP
  24. Canaan-Grapes: GROUP
  25. Joshua-Wall: GROUP

The Busy Bag Swap Was Awesome!

We had an amazing time at the swap today!  We swapped over 600 busy bags!  I’d say that’s a big success for a first time swap.  It was really awesome and my girls have some great activities to play with!

Group 1

Jayna: Felt Fishing, Candice: Popsicle stick puzzle, Ali: Color Matching Boxes, Leslie: Paint Chips with Clothes Pins, Shannon: Letter Eggs, Julie G: Felt Build a Rainbow, Michelle: Felt Popsicle Matching, Mary: Homemade Playdough and Toys, Angeliina: Animal Habitat Match Up, Brookie-Lee:  Felt Turkey(not shown, see image down the page)

Group 2

Jennifer: Animal Matching, Johanna G.: Mr. Potato Head, Angela: Felt Pizza, Julie G: Felt Mailbox, Kimberly: Shoe Lace Boards, Megan: Watermelon Picnic (matching numbers 1-10), Caroline: Felt Clothesline, Kylia: Easy Stitch Cards, Brookie-Lee: Felt Ice Cream Patterns(not shown, see image down the page)

Group 3

Caroline: ABC Dry Erase, Nannette: Button Threading, Belinda: Discovery Bottle, Judi: Pipe Cleaners Beading, Angeliina: hot glue shape that you can rub a crayon over and reveal the shape, Johanna G.: Felt Cupcake, Julie M: race car shapes w/ a car for driving plus a dry erase marker for tracing, Julie G: Counting Caterpillar, Megan:  Letter Activity, Brookie-Lee: Cookie Counting(not shown, see image down the page)

Group 4

Belinda: large button multi use game, Johanna G.: Shades of Color, Julie M: Felt Apple Tree, Julie G: Threading on Plastic Shapes, Nannette: Spoon Matching, Johnna A.: Cardboard Stackers, Amber: Fabric Matching Blocks, Leslie: Picture Making Felt Board with Shapes, Kimberly: Button Threading, Brookie-Lee: Fine Motor Popcorn(not shown, see image down the page)

Group 5

Amber: Gel Writing, Ruth: Felt Garden, Adrianne: Stretchy Bands, Kylia: Color Wheel Matching, Shawna: Popsicle Memory, Tami: Pipe Cleaner Magnet Bottle, Julie R: Egg Matching, Julie G: Chalk Board, Jessica H: Milk Cap Numbers with Animal Counting, Brookie-Lee: 3 Letter Spinning Words(not shown, see image down the page)

Group 6

There was a group six but I didn’t participate in that swap.  We opened it up for duplicates and I will post a picture if someone sends me one.  😀

Brookie-Lee’s Bags

The five activities that I made that were included in the groups above(just not when I was taking the photos).  The turkey isn’t done in this photo but you’ve seen the finished product on my other posts.

Group 1: Felt Turkey, Group 2: Felt Ice Cream, Group 3: Cookie Counting, Group 4: Fine Motor Popcorn, Group 5: 3 Letter Spinning Words

Thank You and a Sweet Gift!

I was chatting with a mama and I caught sight of the white board at the front of the room.  There was a thank you note written from the moms and it was so sweet and made me feel great.  One of the mamas brought me a hostess gift which was extremely sweet and Tylea has been playing with it for hours.  Thank you Ali!

This was a great experience and all the children were wonderful and everyone was very understanding when things didn’t go perfectly.  I really enjoyed it and thank you to all the wonderful women who created these fantastic busy bags!

When’s The Next Swap?!

Late Spring/Early Summer!  I’m thinking either May 4th or June 1st.  Both are Saturday’s.  I will have to check with the church but it would be great to do a 10am.  Make sure you’re subscribed to my blog and you’ve liked my facebook page so that you stay updated!

Busy Bags- Giveaway! (Closed)

Everyone wants to know… What is a busy bag? A busy bag is a gallon size plastic bag(or some other container) that holds an activity with instructions for how to do the activity. These activities are usually appropriate for ages 18 months-5 years. You can do them for older children as well. These activities usually do not require mom’s involvement or supervision. It’s an activity that will stimulate the child and keep them busy for a time. There are SO many wonderful ideas out there and there are Busy Bag Swaps popping up all over the country! A swap is where a bunch of mamas make busy bags and then swap them. So for instance I’m making 10 bags with a felt ice cream pattern activity in them. I will be taking these ten bags to a swap on 2/12/13 and giving nine of them away in exchange for nine unique and different activities. So my daughters will have ten different busy bags to try out!

Busy bags can focus on fine motor skills, learning shapes, colors, numbers, letters, matching upper and lower case, counting, to beginning reading, or just for fun.  Ideas range from play-dough, to dress up dolls, to matching word colors to paint colors.  The options are endless.  Think about how much fun our toddlers have after the presents have been opened on Christmas just playing with all the boxes that gifts were in.  Children don’t need a lot to keep them interested.  Just something different that catches their attention.

Interested in Busy Bags?  Host a swap in your area of town!

How to host a busy bag swap-

Pick a Location:  Check with your church, library, or wait for warm weather and go to the park!  Find a location that works for lots of little kids and have access to drinking water and bathrooms.  OR keep it small and have a moms night in and host it at your house!  I’m hosting my first swap at my church.  Late spring I hope to host one at a local park.  And in the heat of the summer I’m think a mom’s night in would be really nice.  😉

Rules and Restrictions:  Decide the top number of people that can be in a group.  I put a cap of ten people per group.  That means that one mom makes the same activity for her bags for ten people.  Which will include herself.  So far we have six groups in our swap.  That’s 60 unique busy bags!  For five of the groups I asked for no duplicate activities.  The sixth group we’ve had several duplicate activities.  That way if the same person signs up for two groups then they won’t have duplicate activities.  You can also decide if you are going to put age restrictions on the groups.  As my kids and the people I know mostly have multiple children I didn’t put an age range restriction.

Who to invite:  One of the great things about social media is how easy it is to connect with other mamas.  First create a facebook event with all the location and time details as well as instructions for what to do.  Then post a link on your facebook profile and invite people to your event.  I also posted on forums that I participate in.  My local homeschool group, parenting group, church group, etc.  Let the moms know if the event is kid friendly or mamas only.  Of course nursing, lap babies are always welcome.  Edit the details of the event to show what activities the moms in each group are making.  You can also keep this list on your blog like I did.  Just somewhere public and try to keep it up to date.

Activity Instructions:  Give instructions for what the activities need to include.  I asked that the activity be placed in a  gallon plastic bag with the group number, the creators name, and the name of the person it’s going to.  Also if the activity requires instructions(for mom) that those be placed inside the bag as well.  If there were a age restriction that could be written on the bag as well.

At the Swap: Setup tables or spread out blankets and place numbers for each group with the names of the people in the group listed on the same page.  I asked each participant to bring a box/basket/tote with their name on it so that it can be placed on that groups table.  I’m in five groups so I will need five boxes with my name on them to place on each group table that I’m participating in.  Then moms mingle, and kids play while we hang out and wait for everyone to show up.  The swap I’m hosting is at noon and we are bringing a sack lunch.  So we will stay and have lunch, see our busy bags, and play with friends.

Be Prepared:  Sometimes moms want to participate and can’t make it to the event.  Be flexible and try to figure out how to underground the exchange.  I’m meeting one mom at homeschool day at our local CoCo Keys indoor water park to get her bags and meeting another mom at my local La Leche League to give her her bags.  Neither activity is out of my way and more mamas are getting to participate.  Hopefully no one is sick or otherwise unable to make the swap but if they miss it, and they didn’t get their bags to me before hand, then the moms at the swap will have extra to swap with each other.  It’s too complicated to try to get the bags to everyone afterward if something wasn’t setup before hand.  Make sure your moms know that this will happen if they miss the swap.  It’s also a good idea to mention if the moms want to make extra to swap outside of a group.

The Giveaway!

In honor of the Busy Bag Swap that I am hosting in Lee’s Summit on February 12th, 2013 I want to share the Busy Bag love!  I will be giving away a busy bag to 3 lucky winners!  I’ll not sure what the bags will be yet.  Probably some from the five activities I’m making for the Feb swap.  I’ll be mailing them so you can live anywhere in the continental US to participate!  My last giveaway winner lived in Michigan!

Subscribe to Win: Amber Teething Necklace

Post Comment Below to Win: Busy Bag

Share with us in a comment below: the age of your child/children, and activities that you have them do to keep them busy while you homeschool/clean/work to enter to win: a Busy Bag!  3 winners will be picked at random and announced March 1st. Thank you for participating and sharing with us!

5/3/13  And the random winners of the Busy Bags are… Coree, Amber, & Nannette!  Thank you to everyone who contributed by sharing with us!

Also this month’s random subscriber winner of the Amber Teething Necklace is… jjbretches!  Congrats and thank you for subscribing to my blog!

Felt Ice Cream Cone Patterns

On February 12th, 2013 I am hosting a busy bag swap at my church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  I’m super excited.  Already we have moms signed up for four groups!  Each group has ten people.  That’s 40 different busy bags so far!  That is super exciting to me because that means that I will have activities for my two little girls to keep them stimulated and occupied while I teach their older brothers during our homeschool days.

I’m in all four groups so far.  So I need to make four activities x10.  So I better get started.  For one of the groups I’m doing felt ice cream cones with pattern cards.  I found the patterns on this website for the cone and ice scream scoops as well as the pattern cards.  I minimized them to a more realistic and practical size and created this pdf if you would like to use it.  So the planning part was super easy.  I have tons of felt from past Christmas ornament swaps I’ve done so now it’s just cutting, cutting, and more cutting!  😀