Archive for the Craft Category

Dec 1 2016

Christmas Advent Calendar

Hello December!

This month is a special one for many reasons. First and foremost it’s the month in which we celebrate our Savior’s birth! It’s a month full of traditions and celebrations, including my daughter’s first birthday….I can’t even believe how quickly this year has gone by and that I’m going to have a one year old!

I want to savor each and every day this month with my family, soaking up the sounds, smells and tastes of the season!  One of my favorite traditions and ways to make this month special is by creating an advent calendar.  When I was younger we’d always have one, whether it was one of those cardboard houses with the chocolates behind each window or one made from strips of construction paper to make a chain.

Keeping with tradition, I put together a new advent calendar for this year. I wanted to keep it simple and neutral, and that’s just what I did.  It was super easy and I know it’s already December 1st, but it’s not too late to make one yourself!  Just take a quick trip to the craft store (don’t forget your coupon!)


Here’s what you will need:

  • 24 muslin drawstring bags (found in the wedding craft aisle at Michael’s)
  • 1 star Christmas ornament (roughly the same size as the bags)
  • 25 mini clear Command hooks/strips
  • Stickers numbered 1 through 25 (or stencils or stamps and paint)
  • List of activities and small goodies to fill your bags with
  • Large chalkboard, canvas or wall to attach your bags to

You may find, like I did, that the muslin bags come in packs of 12.  I only needed 25 and wasn’t about to buy a third bag just to use one from it.  I decided to use a star Christmas ornament for Day 1 of my advent calendar.  You’ll then place stickers 2 through 25 on the muslin bags.  Attach command strip hooks to your chalkboard/wall/whatever surface you choose.  I decided to arrange mine in the shape of a Christmas tree.  My bags came with the strings tied in a knot.  I untied them and tied a bow keeping a small loop between the bag and the bow so I could hang from the hooks.  Also, this way the bags didn’t hand so low from the hooks.  Fill each bag with a fun activity to do that day of December or with a small little candy or gift.  For larger items, add a clue for where to find the gift in the little bag.  There you have it, and pretty inexpensive too!

Make this your own, keep it simple and work with what you have. If you have a bulletin board, hang the bags with push pins, or run strips of ribbon on your wall or backdrop and attach the bags to the ribbon with small clothespins.  You can see the advent calendar I made last year here.





Here are some ideas of activities you could include in your advent calendar:

  • Decorate Christmas Tree
  • Visit Santa Claus
  • Go For a Drive to Look at Christmas Lights
  • Decorate a Gingerbread House
  • Make Christmas Cookies
  • Watch a Christmas Movie – Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc.
  • Pack a Shoe Box with Gifts For a Child In Need
  • Make Hot Cocoa
  • Go Christmas Caroling
  • Deliver Candy to a Neighbor

Can’t wait to experience the magic of Christmas through this little one’s eyes! She is excited for our Christmas Advent Calendar.


Wishing you the Merriest Christmas Season!

Signature - Alisa




Nov 29 2015

Christmas Card Wreath

Happy Monday Everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful joy-filled Thanksgiving with your families.  We are so thankful for each and every one of you that read our blog, send us emails and leave sweet and encouraging comments.  You all are the best!

Today we are participating in a Creative Christmas Craft Blog Hop and we have a super easy and inexpensive Christmas craft to share with you.  Let’s face it, you will be getting a ton of Christmas cards in the mail these next coming weeks and you only have so much room on the fridge or mantel to display.  So, why not make a Christmas card wreath to display your cards!

DIY Christmas Card Wreath

Materials Needed:

  • (1) 14 inch embroidery hoop
  • (9) mini wooden clothespins (1 3/4 inch long)
  • Wood glue
  • Ribbon
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Christmas Card Wreath materials


Step 1: Using a ruler or sewing measuring tape, space out your clothespins evenly around the embroidery hoop.  You will want to alternate the clothespins so that every other clothespin opens in the opposite direction (1 inward, the next one outward).  Start with the clothespin at the very bottom of the hoop and position in in line with the screw at the top of the embroidery hoop.  If the hoop was a clock, the bottom clothespin would be at the 6:00 position.  Space 4 clothespins evenly to the right and left of the bottom clothespin.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 1

Step 2: Use a pencil and carefully mark the placement of each of your clothespins, in case they move before you secure them.  Carefully attach your clothespins to the embroidery hoop using wood glue.  Again, make sure to alternate the clothespins to that every other one opens in the opposite direction.  You can use a glue gun, however they will not be as secure as when using wood glue and may fall off when opening and closing the clothespins or when storing your wreath after the Christmas season.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 2

Step 3: Once your wood glue has dried (may take a few hours), tie a ribbon around the top of the embroidery hoop, covering the screw.  You will want to leave room between the hoop and the knot of the bow so that the bow doesn’t sit directly on the hoop.  This allows more space for your Christmas cards.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 3

Step 4: Tie a piece of twine to the ribbon to use to hang your wreath.

Christmas Card Wreath Step 4

Step 5: Clip your Christmas cards to your clothespins.  Instead of cards you can also use to display cute Christmas themed scrapbook paper or notecards!

Christmas Card Wreath by All In Good Twine

Christmas Card Wreath

There you have it!  Super simple right?  Now you have somewhere to display all those Christmas cards that will be pouring in soon!  Get creative and put your own spin on it: paint the embroidery hoop or add washi tape to the clothespins.  To hold even more cards, you can add more clothespins, or attach a second or third embroidery hoop to the first one.  You could even do 3 different embroidery hoop sizes to resemble a snowman.  You could use this same concept to create an advent calendar; instead of displaying Christmas cards, clip envelopes with numbers 1 through 25 and fill the envelope with an activity to do as a family.

Hope you try this out and make your own!  How do you like to display your Christmas cards?

Also, check out how to make our DIY Advent Calendar here!


Be sure to check out the rest of the crafts in the Creative Christmas Blog Hop by clicking on the links below!


Nov 6 2015

Christmas! {An Advent Book}

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe we are into November already!  Christmas is right around the corner and I want to share with you a wonderful Advent Book that just came out this month!  It’s called “Christmas! The whole story of the God who loves” by Natasha Metzler.  This book is wonderful for the whole family and I love that it tells the story of Jesus’ birth starting at the very beginning in Genesis!  For each day, there is a very short (one minute) Bible story and a gorgeous illustration to go with it.  Below are some sample pages of the book.


Kids will love hunting for a little bug that is hidden on each page!


It reminds me a lot of the Jesus Storybook Bible that my family loves to read.  I really love how the author of this advent book shows how each story, even in the Old Testament, points back to Jesus.  The one word titles are very powerful.  I also love how every time the author mentions when God speaks she adds “Really great things happen when God speaks.”   I can’t wait to do read this advent book with my family this year, especially with how much my son loves Bible stories and is understanding more and more.

Here are some ideas I have for ways to incorporate this advent book into your Christmas season with your family:

  1.  This is a great supplement to an advent calendar.  It really puts the focus on Jesus.  Read the story first and then do your advent calendar.
  2. Read the day’s story at the dinner table before or after the meal and start a discussion with the family.
  3. Make a craft or activity to go with each day.  You can find lots of crafts to go with Bible stories through Pinterest.  We have really enjoyed these file folder games for preschool age kiddos.
  4. Act out the story with your family.
  5. Discuss, with your children, how the illustration on each page helps to tell that day’s story.
  6. Before reading the day’s story, show your children the illustration from the previous day and recap what happened.
  7. Use water colors to recreate the picture for each day or create your own picture to go with what stood out to you in the story.
  8. After reading the day’s story (for older kids) use the titles to say or write a summary or for younger kiddos, draw a picture.
  9. Each day when you read the story work on memorizing all of the titles of the chapters in order so that at the end you have a 25 word summary of the Christmas story.  This would be really cool to recite on Christmas!

Christmas!” is now available on Amazon.  Go buy a copy so you can start on December 1st!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

*affiliate links used.  Thank you to the author, Natasha, for providing me with a copy to review.  As always all opinions are mine.

Signature - Marissa

Oct 12 2015

Bedtime Routine Checklist

Any other mamas dread the bedtime routine?!  It’s that time of day when the kiddos all of a sudden have endless amounts of energy and go crazy as you are exhausted and need a break.  It usually includes pleading with them to pick up their toys, trying for 10 minutes to get them in the bath and then trying even longer to get them out of it, wrestling them to get their pjs on, and then once you finally get them in bed, you have to sing 50 million songs, tell stories, get water, take them to the bathroom again and then maybe finally you get to rest!  Whew!

This routine gets old really quick.  Don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling with my little man, singing songs together, praying with him and getting sweet kissses goodnight…I just don’t want the bedtime routine to be a long drawn out fight to get him in bed.  You know what I mean?!  So…I had an idea!

My little guy loves structure…in fact all children need it.  I was determined to make bedtime quicker and easier on us both.  So I made my son a bedtime routine checklist.  I simply made it in Word using clip art for the things that need to get done before his little head hits the pillow.  Then I laminated it, and put velcro on it.

bedtime routine checklist2

bedtime routine checklist

My little guy LOVES it!  He loves moving the checks to show what he has done, and is so proud at the end when everything is checked off his list.  It has made this dreaded time of night so much smoother!  And when all is said and done my sweet boy has been bathed and is sleeping in bed, the house is picked up and neither of us have shed tears…at least less often now 😉  It doesn’t always go perfectly, but it has drastically improved this time of day for us.  If you would like a copy of the checklist that I made email me and I will send it to you.

Do you have any tried and true ways to make the bedtime routine easier?  Please share in the comments!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Signature - Marissa

Sep 24 2015

Big Boy Room

Hi Everyone!

Being a mom of two little ones has kept me very busy the past couple months!  I’m back today to share my son’s big boy room with you all.  I still can’t believe my little guy is big enough for a big boy room!  A few months after we found out we were pregnant with our second child I started dreaming and planning for my son’s big boy room.  We decided to keep the nursery where it was and move him to the spare bedroom.  I worked on his big boy room for several weeks all the while not letting my little guy know so that it could be a surprise.

He loved his big boy adventure room when we did the big reveal.  It was so fun to see him so excited and appreciative.  I really love how it turned out!




We loved the bookcase in my son’s nursery (people always ask where we got it) so we ordered another one (just slightly different) for his big boy room.  It works great when you don’t have a lot of extra room for something like a book case.  We got it from pottery barn kids and waited till we got a coupon in my email.  Then we ordered it by phone and had it shipped to the store (free shipping) which also saved us money.


These vintage plane printables were free!! Can you believe that?!  I found them on pinterest and they were my inspiration piece for the room.  I didn’t want to be limited to airplanes so I decided to go with the “adventure” theme.  Finding free printables online is a great way to save money when decorating.




I love how his gallery wall came out.  I ordered this National Geographic map from Amazon.  It was a great price and the colors were perfect.  Another great way to save money when decorating is to shop your own house.  I already had the clipboard, frames, and hanger and along with the free printables (sources below) this gallery wall was very inexpensive.


He may be in a big boy room now, but there is still a place for Kermi 😉


Many of the things I used in his big boy room I had in his nursery.  It saved me a lot of money by using some of the same colors in his adventure room.  I used navy and green again and added orange and brown.  It looks like a totally different room, but I was able to use many of the same things.


I love decorating my home with things that have a history or special meaning.  The bear lamp was made by my mother-in-law’s parents.  They were skilled potters.  My son has admired this lamp for a long time at grandma and poppy’s house so he was very excited to see it in his room!  The little orange plane in the picture above was in my brother’s room growing up.  And the little gray metal tool box on his dresser was my dad’s.


My little guy is so proud of his big boy room and loves to show it off to everyone who comes over.  It was a lot of fun to design and put together this room and a big thanks to my sweet hubby for all his hard work as well!

Source List:

Toddler Bed- given to us by a friend

Bedding- Target


Dresser and night stand- Ikea

Adirondack chair- World Market

Book shelf-Pottery Barn Kids

Wooden sign with verse- DIY tutorial here

White picture frames-Ikea

Rug-Home Goods


Navy blue lamp-Home Goods

Navy blue stars-Home Goods (spray painted navy)

Fabric banner- DIY fabric from JoAnn’s

Bear lamp-made by my mother-in-law’s parents

Drift wood sail boat-Home Goods

Large metal L- TJ Maxx

Free Printable Sources:

-4 vintage sketch airplane posters –How To Nest For Less blog

-Adventuring- Couple Jones blog

-I Can Do Hard Things- Lemon Squeezy blog

-I Love You To The Moon and Back (printed in black and white)- A Bubbly Life blog

-Be Strong and Courageous- Gracelaced blog

-Let Your Dreams Take Flight- Happy Go Lucky blog

-Adventure!- I Rock So What blog

Check out my Big Boy Room Pinterest board to see where I got my inspiration and for more ideas on an adventure room.

Hope you all have a great day!

Signature - Marissa

Apr 6 2015

Mommy Monday: 5 Ways To Use Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Happy Monday Everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  We had a great time celebrating Easter with family.

I am always trying to find inexpensive or free ways to keep my little guy entertained.  A long time ago I started saving empty toilet paper rolls hoping I would find a cool use for them.  And I’m glad I did because I have found lots of ways to use them in crafts and playing with my little man.  Here are 5 fun ways to use up those empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls:

1.  Bowling Pins– We just wrapped a different color construction paper around 6 toilet paper rolls, put a little glue, and that’s it!


2.  Stamping with Paint– You can see how we did this Valentine’s Day activity here.  You could also do different kinds of flowers, which would be perfect for spring!

valentine painting3

3.  Build a Rocket-I will be having our preschool co-op kiddos do this next week so I thought we would make a sample.  You can use foil, crepe paper, construction paper, stickers, felt…the possibilities are endless!

IMG_7679 (2)

4.  Make a Bird Feeder-This was really fun to do with our co-op and simple too…just make sure you are there to supervise because it can get messy!  First, I hole punched the toilet paper roll twice at the top on opposite sides. Then the kiddos or adults can “Paint” the toilet paper roll with peanut butter.  It works well to leave a little space at the top so you can hold it.  Then roll it in bird seed (I found a big bag at the 99 cent store!).  (I think I will go back and glue the bird feeder to a plate).  Then hang and have fun watching the birds with your little ones!

bird feeder

5.  Car Ramp on the Wall– Make a design on the wall by taping toilet paper rolls and/or paper towel rolls to the wall.  I used blue tape so that it wouldn’t damage the paint.  Let your kiddos send cars, little balls, or pom poms through the maze.

car ramps

Do you have any other ways to use up those empty toilet paper rolls?  I’d love to hear them!  Please leave a comment so all us moms can get some more great ideas!

Hope you have a great week!

Signature - Marissa


Mar 16 2015

Mommy Monday-Spring Planting Activities for Kids

Well, it is definitely feeling like spring around here!  I am loving the warm temps and sunshine!  One of the things I love about spring time is seeing things come back to life in my yard.  I love working in the yard and planting my garden.  Today I thought I would share some lessons you could do with your littles that have to do with gardening.

I am a part of a wonderful pre-school co-op with some other mom friends.  We rotate houses and share the teaching.  We use Hubbard’s Cupboard as a resource if any of you are interested in checking it out.  A couple weeks ago it was my turn to teach on seeds.  I was so excited to get to share my passion of gardening with eleven sweet kiddos!

Below are some planting activities for kids that we did and you could also do to introduce seeds/plants/gardening with your kiddos:

1. Read some books about seeds/plants/gardening–  This is a great way to introduce it to your kiddos.  I went to our local library and borrowed a bunch on the topic.  I read one aloud to the kiddos and then had the books out for the kids to read and explore.  Some were fiction and some were non fiction.  (I forgot to take a picture of them before I returned them, but the ones below are a couple we own)


2.  Say some rhymes or sing songs on the topic– Some ideas are “Mary Mary Quite Contrary,” “I’m a Little Sunflower” (google and you will find lots of different versions to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Roses are Red.” Here is a good resource for this as well.

3.  Create and Read “Life Cycle of a Plant Booklet“-  This is a great book to read to kids and then have them create it by cutting and coloring.  It does a great job explaining the life cycle of a plant to kids.


4.  What plants Need Flashcards– We brainstormed what plants need to grow and then also used these flashcards.  Then I had the kids help me to label the parts of a plant I had drawn and laminated using velcro tags.



5.  Visit a garden or take them outside to your garden–  We went outside into our garden and talked about what is growing.  At the time I had lettuce, strawberries, peas, onions, and broccoli all at different stages of growth.  I showed them the sprouting broccoli, the flowers and the fruit on the strawberries and how to harvest the lettuce.  We did some taste testing of the lettuce and everyone went home with a bag of homegrown lettuce!  We talked again about what plants need: water, air, sunlight, soil.


6.  Plant a bean seed-  At pre-school we all planted a lima bean seed and I showed the kids how mine was already growing and what there’s would look like in about a week.  All you need to do is wet some cotton balls and put them at the bottom of a ziplock baggie (you don’t want them drenched).  Then put a lima bean or any kind of bean you choose at the bottom and seal the baggie.  Hang in a sunny window and watch it grow!  The cool thing about this method is that you can see the seed germinate, and also get a look at the roots which would normally all happen under ground.  Depending on the age of you kid(s) you could give them a notebook to draw their seed every couple days to record the changes.


7.  Parable of the Sower Bible Story–  I found a short video on this that the kids watched.  We then talked about the different types of soil and which one we want to be.  There are lots of resources on this online for more activities.

8.  Plant a Vegetable Garden– My son and I love getting out in the vegetable garden and working.  It’s so fun to watch things grow and be able to pick your veggies, wash and eat them right there in your backyard!  I had my son help me start some vegetable and flower seeds and he kept saying “This is a fun game, mama!”


There is so much you can do on this topic and lots of resources online.  I have started a Preschool Pinterest Board if you would like to follow along.  I also document a lot of our gardening on Instagram at @marissaramsland.  I’d love to connect with you on there!

I hope you all have a great Monday!

Signature - Marissa



Mar 9 2015

Mommy Monday: St. Patrick’s Day Fun For Kids

Today I want to share some easy projects you can do with your kiddos for a little St. Patrick’s Day Fun:

1.  Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt– When I taught third grade I would do this every year and the kids loved it.  I left a little note sitting out that was “from the leprechauns.”  Each clue led us to a new hiding spot with another clue and then finally to the treasure which can be anything from a special treat, a book, play gold coins, etc.

2.  Rainbow Counting Book– I recently shared this fun project and thought you could tweak it to be more for St. Patrick’s Day by doing rainbows, leprechauns, pots of gold or shamrocks as the counting objects.

rainbow counting book

3. Make Chocolate Mint Trifles Together–  Alisa shared this recipe a while back and I think it would be great to make with your kiddos.  Brownies, pudding, whipped cream, and cookies…what’s not to love!!

Chocolate Mint Trifle 1

4.  Learn about St. Patrick– We went to our local library and checked out a couple books with the St. Patrick’s Day theme and read them together.  You could also google videos about St. Patrick for kids.  (Make sure to preview them first 😉 )


5. Do-A-Dot Rainbow– To make this rainbow we used the Do-A-Dots that can be found here.  We counted the dots as we made them.  Then we glued cotton balls for clouds at the ends of the rainbow.

rainbow do a dot


rainbow do a dot2

6.  Go on a Green Hunt –  Go around your house looking for things that are green.  Collect them in a basket or spot in the house and then count them, categorize them, and talk about what letter/sound they start with.

7.  Have a St. Patrick’s Day inspired snack/lunch– some suggestions would be to have green food such as kiwi, green jello, green grapes, zucchini, green apples.  You could get a shamrock cookie cutter and make shamrock shaped sandwiches for lunch!  Involve your little one in thinking of things to eat that would go with your theme.

*affiliate links used

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Signature - Marissa

Mar 2 2015

Mommy Monday: DIY Rainbow Counting Book

I have been in clean out mode lately!  Trying to get rid of stuff and organize!  Anyone else with me?  While I was cleaning I came across some assignments that were art projects I did while taking a class in college on how to teach art to elementary students.  I found this Rainbow Counting Book and thought it would be fun to share with you in case you wanted to make this with your kiddos.  I really love the concept of making a counting book out of your kids art!

rainbow counting book

First, you would have your kiddos finger paint on paper.  You could also do different kinds of paintings for each page like mine.  The paintings became the flowers on each page.

rainbow counting book2

When it’s dry, decide what shapes you want to make in your counting book.  I did tulips for mine, but you could choose anything.  You could even do something different on each page.  You could trace an object with a pencil or simply just cut out your shape from the finger painting.

rainbow counting book3

Then, to make the book part, cut construction paper (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue) different lengths to get the staggered look.

rainbow counting book4

Help your child glue on the objects you cut out onto each page.  Next, write the title and numbers on each page.  Then staple it together to make a book.  You could also laminate each page before putting it together.

rainbow counting book5

Enjoy helping your child practice counting and learning their numbers!

rainbow counting book6

Hope you all have a great day!

Signature - Marissa

Feb 18 2015

Open Frame Gallery Wall

Good Morning!

Today I want to show you a simple open frame gallery wall project that I did in our Master Bedroom.  A couple years ago I saw these cute open picture frames at Hobby Lobby and I knew that was the direction I wanted to go.  But then they sat in my guest bedroom for 2 years :( .  That is a bad habit of mine; buying things for a project but then letting them gather dust.  This drives my husband nuts and I don’t blame him!  It is a combination of not finding the time to execute, and my inability to commit to a design plan.  I want to make sure I won’t regret it later on down the road and wish I had done something else.  When I put a nail in my wall, I want to make sure it is going to stay there for a long time!

Open Frame Gallery Wall

Below is the wall before…pretty blah!  We have really high ceilings so I wanted to fill the space and I wanted to display something that could cover that ugly control panel.  Since the control panel was so far to the left of the wall, I knew one picture frame wouldn’t do the trick, so a gallery wall would be perfect.

Wall Before

In order to get the layout of the frames just right, I traced around each frame onto old newspaper and cut it out.  I then had a piece of newspaper cut to the size of each frame.  I used blue painter’s tape to  tape the newspaper to the wall and played around with the layout.  This gave me flexibility of trying different layouts without putting a bunch of holes in the wall.  To hang the frames I used this method and it worked like a charm!  The “X” and “O” letters did not have any hooks on the back for hanging, so I used mounting putty.  I honestly wasn’t sure if that would hold them, but it has been over a month and they are still up on the wall!

Gallery Wall 2

Once I had the frames, I found some items around my house that I could add to the frames and fill in the space, like the keys and the letters.  I decided I didn’t want to leave  all the frames open, so I backed a few with burlap.  I actually had an old burlap tote bag that I cut to the size of the frame and glued to a piece of kraft cardstock.  Since the burlap was originally a tote bag, it had a sort of clear lining on the back that made it easy to adhere to the cardstock without the glue seeping through.  I simply set the burlap covered cardstock in the frames, draping a doily over the top of one.  I can easily take it out if later I want to add a picture, print or another type of fabric.  In the largest frame, I hung an embroidery hoop that I stretched the same burlap around and added another doily.  My favorite part about the gallery wall is that I can add to it or change it up over the years.

Gallery Wall 3

Open Frame Gallery Wall 2

So, if you have an empty wall in your house, I hope you got a few ideas on how you can fill the space!  To me, a house becomes a home when you add personal touches and decorate those empty walls!

Frames | Hobby Lobby

Keys | Ballard Designs

Letters | Treasures From the Heart, Coronado CA

Doilies | Michaels

Ottomon | TJ Maxx

Pillows | Pottery Barn

Bible Verse Sign |  Picket Fences, Solvang CA

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Signature - Alisa