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Put your creativity to work

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
It's just a few days until Christmas. The decorations are all up. The presents are wrapped and ready, hopefully. The dinner is planned and the kids are going berserk!
What are we to do with the kids that can barely contain themselves? I know in our home right now the kids are so excited they just want to go from one thing to another! So what do I do? Well, since it's sort of illegal to tie them up and lock them in closets and if I lock myself in the closet then I probably wouldn't have much of a home afterward, I've had to come up with other ideas. Here's a few:
1. The first thing I learned is to go with the flow; provide them with materials and ideas, but let them be creative. In other words, if you planned on them making Christmas ornaments, but they want to do a collage instead — let them. This is a wonderful time to create some fun memories with your children.
2. I do try to set certain limitations. For example, they can put on a play, but it has to be contained to a certain room of the house or they can do crafts, but it has to done on the counter in the kitchen. To keep the house work to a dull roar over the holidays, I have a rules on when they can do activities. The kids understand chores must be done and the quicker things are done the sooner they get to have fun.
3. I usually have some sort of general plan for the holidays. This year I have several pre-printed sewing patterns that I want to do with them. You can purchase these just about anywhere that sells material. I know Wal-Mart, Hancock's and Hobby Lobby have them just to name a few. The ones I picked up are from last year. I found them on sale after Christmas and picked up several for about 1/2price. I have planned on doing some simple candy recipes with them. I always have several good ole standbys such as making ornaments from small pine cones (lots of glue and glitter); coloring pages from the internet (if you print these on card stock you can glue and glitter them, too); and bird feeders using pine cones, peanut butter and birdseed. Tip: When using things like glitter and birdseed, I have found it easier to put it in a container and let the kids dip or roll their craft in it. In the case of pictures, I take the picture lay it flat in a plastic tub sprinkle the glitter over it. This keeps the glitter mess to a minimum and then you can use a funnel to put the glitter back into its container.
4. I try to have a general day-by-day plan as well. I've found that when the kids know what's going to happen they are more willing to be patient while I get done with my work. I also provide things for the kids to do while I'm working that doesn't require much supervision, such as coloring. This combined with the promise of when I'm done I will do something more "exciting" with them keeps our day a lot happier.
5. I try to be flexible and let the kids have friends over. I've found that I get more done because they will usually entertain one another for quite awhile. Although, I do have keep an eye on them and impose those awful limitations — again!
6. This is also the time of year to provide plenty of snacks. My kids will generally eat what's convenient– at least to an extent. Therefore, I try to keep things around like popcorn, fruit, veggies and dip, cheese and lunchmeat tray, pretzels, etc. During this time, I swear they're trying to eat me out of house and home!
I hope these tips help keep the "merry" in your Merry Christmas. I also want to share with you my children's favorite veggie dip. This was given to me about 15 years ago by a dear friend.
Mary's Veggie Dip
1 cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
Mix and enjoy. Although this can be eaten immediately, I like to make it up the night before and refrigerate overnight to give the flavors a chance to blend more.
If you have a tip to share please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640 or e-mail;
In honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we wish you a merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
The Blaylock Family