10 Rules for Buying Gifts for Kids

I decided to make a pinnable image of my 10 rules for buying gifts for my kids, which I detailed in The Birthday Party.

Click the image to pin. You can follow me on Pinterest here.

10 rules for buying gifts for children | bewildered mother blog

Still to come, the cookies and books lists from the birthday party, plus Champ’s 3-yr-old photoshoot. Follow / become a fan / subscribe if you don’t want to miss them :)

Holiday Crafts

Last month we made Turkeys with our hands and feet.


This month was Christmas ornaments. I’ll start with the photos on the tree, then explain how we made each ornament.




Handprint Reindeer


We used the recipe from Martha Stewart to make the cinnamon dough. I traced Little Champ’s hand onto a piece of paper and used that as a mold, then poked two holes with a chopstick (one to hang, one on the thumb for the antlers) and baked according to the recipe, turning once.

The next day I put on the finishing touches. I got micro bells and micro pompoms from Michaels. I strung the three bells onto a wire, bent around the “neck” and twisted it in the back. Then I glued the bells down, the nose, and the googly eye. I think I used three pipe cleaners for two reindeer—one cut in half made the two smaller sets. I pushed both one long and one short through the hole, folded them in half, upwards, and curled the ends.

Handprint Ornaments


These actually didn’t work out too well. First I squirted paint on the inside of the bulbs and turned them around to get the insides fully coated with paint. That took a while, and then they took a long time to dry (I kept turning them around every few hours). Once I thought they were completely dry, I hung the plastic kinds on the tree, and now the paint has pooled to the bottom, even though I had them drying for a week. We still have them up on the tree—I’m pretending the abstract look was intentional. Same results with plastic and glass ornaments, house paint and acrylic paints. (It also took a few tries to get good-looking hands on the bulbs.)

Button Trees


I’m hoping these are pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll post images below. I got a jar full of green buttons from Walmart for a few dollars. I tried a few different combinations, but I ended up liking the trees that were similar in color best. The transparent tree is my favorite because it looks great against the Christmas lights, but it doesn’t photograph well for that same reason.

I found out that they looked best when I made a single half knot between buttons (not a square not, which is two half knots), and on the four-hole buttons, I thread through the diagonal. I finish with a square not on top of the tree, and then knot the strings at the top to create a loop to hang the tree.

button1 button2 button3 button4 button5 button6

Christmas Party

Yesterday we had an outrageously fun Christmas party, with ugly sweaters, awkward family photos, an ornament exchange, games, food, and much laughter.








We had some nice ornaments…


And some White Elephant ornaments…


Adam West as Batman, and Nicolas Cage Cats ornaments…

If you have a weird sense of humor and want some Adam West or NickCageCats ornaments yourself, you can download and print my file here. I don’t own any of the images and made no profit from using them—these are for personal use only!


  • Cocktail Meatballs
  • Homemade peanut butter cups (filling: 1 cup peanut butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 stick of butter; coating: chocolate almond bark)
  • Chocolate Fondue with fruit, pretzels, and marshmallows
  • Pinwheels (tortilla, cream cheese, ham, and pickle)
  • Da Vinci Dip
  • and these, made with peppermint Kisses (click image for how-to): https://i2.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/-zuSLkgkgeRg/TzG8LNyxQmI/AAAAAAAABII/2Mp5STEOWQY/s1600/pretzel+buttons.jpg


TUTORIAL: Greeting Card Box

Have you ever been in one of these situations?

What am I going to do with this decades-old greeting card that I just can’t seem to throw out?

How can I recycle/reuse my Christmas Cards?

I should have left for the party an hour ago, but I can’t find a stupid box for this small gift! I’m about to throw it into a security envelope and be done with it!

Never fear, the Bewildered Mother is here to rescue you. These boxes are perfect for giving jewelry or stocking stuffers or notes or other little gifts. Chocolate is always a good idea.

A few things:

  1. These can be made in any size, out of pretty much any kind of paper. Yes, even that ridiculously thin copy paper. I haven’t tried it with tracing paper…now I’m going to have to.
  2. The boxes will always be square shaped.
  3. When closed, they don’t make a cube; they make half of one.
  4. Use the same size paper for the top and bottom. You can use the back and front of a folding greeting card, if you’d like.
  5. Have fun making nesting boxes for really small gifts (like, maybe an engagement ring, perhaps?) The smallest I’ve tried was less than half an inch wide.
  6. Best part? You don’t need wrapping paper or tape. If you are an expert at ripping/tearing, you don’t even need scissors. Booyah!
Oh, and if the tutorial images below don’t all load, just refresh the page.

Have fun!