Thursday, December 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes: 7 Simple Steps for NO Sew Silverware Stockings

Several years ago, I found an easy DIY (do it yourself) Christmas craft to not only decorate my Christmas table, but the craft was practical too because it is a festive way to hold silverware at our Christmas place settings. I can't decide why I like these so it because they look so pretty on the table or that I didn't have to sew a thing to make them?!? :)

To make these NO sew Silverware Stockings follow these 7 simple steps:

Choose your favorite fabric at the store and get Tacky Glue and red ribbon.  I went with red felt and a festive peppermint fabric.

Download this printable with the stocking, cuff, and toe template on them.  The printable looks like this (minus my shadow on the paper) :)   
Cut out paper templates

Trace stocking template onto red felt 2 times and cut out felt

Trace cuff and toe template onto festive fabric and cut out fabric  

These are the 4 pieces you will have after cutting fabric

Apply tacky glue to edges of 2 stockings and place them together.  After folding cuff where dashed lines on template are indicated, glue the festive fabric around top of stocking.  Loop red ribbon and glue at the corner of of stocking.  

 Back of stocking 

Front of stocking 

Place silverware in stocking and set your table with your festive and simple silverware stockings! 

In 2010 when I first made my first set of these stockings, I made 12 for my Mom, 12 for a close friend of mine and 12 for myself.  I store mine in a holiday container so they are always ready to decorate our table for future Christmas celebrations.  

I hope you have enjoyed reading these 7 simple steps for NO sew silverware stockings!  If you try making these, please let me know and contact me to share a photo or two. I would love to see your silverware stocking creations!  

The Homeschool Post 

Also, my blog here has been nominated in 2 categories for the 2014 Homeschool Blog Awards.  I was nominated in the Best Variety Blog and the Best Homeschool Mom Blog.  

If you feel my blog is worthy enough for both or either category, could you take a second to click on the links below and click the circle next to my blog name ( A Slice of Smith Life) ?  Then click "Vote".  You can vote once per day per device until 12/29.  Thank you for your support and vote!  

  Best Variety Homeschool Blog @hsbapost
Click here to vote for Best Variety Blog 2014 

Best Homeschool Mom Blog @hsbapost
Click here to vote Best Homeschool Mom Blog 2014 


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Traveling Through the 12 Days of Christmas: Books that Make Great Gifts!

This post contains affiliate links.

I debated publishing my post here as I sit here shedding tears and praying for the Lenaburg family who is preparing to say good-bye to their sweet Courtney.  Courtney's life on earth will be ending soon.  :(  My heart breaks for them.  I've been following Mary's blog at Passionate Perseverance for several months now and her posts have touched my heart.  Mary's faith and strength is amazing and inspiring!  What a beautiful gift Courtney is to family, friends, and even to strangers like me.  Please pray for them during this sad time. 

But, I thought I would publish my scheduled post below after sharing with you about the Lenaburgs.

So now on to much, much, much less important matters now...

Unimportant Matter #1:  My blog redesign is coming along, don't you think? (It's still a work in progress) 

Unimportant Matter #2: The "O" Antiphons begin tomorrow,  December 17,  which means two things:
1) We will be pulling out our "O" Antiphons Lapbooks we started last year to learn and pray with the last 8 days of Advent and...
2) Christmas Day is almost here!

In previous years, I wrote blog posts about the 12 days of Christmas.  The 12 days of Christmas are the days leading up to Christmas Day right?  Not exactly.

I really never knew which days were considered  the "12 Days of Christmas" as I sang the "12 Days of Christmas" song as a child, but as an adult and a homeschool mom, I have learned that the 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day and last for 12 days until the Epiphany, when the Wise Men visit the Christ Child. 

I thought I would share a great book series to help your family and friends "travel" through the 12 days of Christmas.   The series of books start with "The Twelve Days of Christmas in ______".  Fill in the blank with a US state (see list below) and you have a book that is fun, engaging, and educational too! 

I first came across the series when I gave The Twelve Days of Christmas in North Carolina to Patty at Reasons for Chocolate for a baby shower gift during Christmas time which was few years ago!   Patty does not live in NC so I thought I would give her a book from my home state as a way to share NC facts and fun with her and her growing family. I also thought it was cool to see that one of the cities highlighted was the city where I was born!  :)

Here's a little peek into the The Twelve Days of Christmas in North Carolina book that I am giving my nieces (one lives in New York and my other niece lives in Australia) and my nephew and Godson from Pennsylvania got a book too! 

Each book highlights the state with the popular landmarks and cities in the particular state.  The map  labels what each of the 12 days throughout the book are about.  I really like that this teaches geography in a fun way! 

Each of the 12 days is written in a letter format from a girl named Abby who is visiting her cousin, Mike, in NC.  Abby is writing back home to her Mom and Dad and telling about all her NC adventures with Mike.   Here on the 8th day of Christmas Mike gave Abby 8 kites a-flying so Abby writes in her letter all about Kill Devil Hills, where they flew their kites.  Kill Devil Hills is noted on the map above on the East Coast of NC.  She then tells her parents that they were pretending to be like the Wright brothers and goes on to give facts about the first NC flight.  Each page is full of color and fun facts like this. 

I have enjoyed reading our copy to my family and these books make great gifts!  Don't they Patty? ;)

But what if you don't live in North Carolina and I have peeked your interest enough that you want to look for a book in another state?  :) 

I've got the perfect suggestion! :)  Here is a list of these books about other states (in alphabetical order) in case you are looking for a last minute gift idea that is fun and educational too!

The Twelve Days of Christmas in....












New Jersey 

New York City





South Carolina




Washington, DC


Don't see a particular state?  I have searched Amazon for quite some time trying to find as many states as I could, but I might have missed a few along the way.  Maybe if you search Amazon other states will pop up?

I would like to share this video of the group, Straight No Chaser, singing a creative and entertaining version called "12 Days of Christmas Medley."  I always enjoy watching this and so do my Cupcakes!  :)  Enjoy!

A New (Blog) Look for a New Year! (Under Construction)

If you have visited my little corner of blog land before, things might look a lot different!  I'm in the middle of redesigning my blog with Jerri at Alabama Elite Media so things will be getting moved around a bit and colors are being decided upon until the design is complete.   Thank you for your visit and I hope you like the new makeover so far!  I know after 4 plus years with relatively the same "look", I'm enjoying the changes and I continue to enjoy working with Jerri during the process.  :)  

Be sure to check back very soon for my post that will "help you travel through the 12 days of Christmas"!    Stay tuned! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"O" Antiphons Lapbook: 2014

Last year my children and I made "O Antiphon" lapbooks for the first time and I'm reposting how we made the lapbook on this post for 2014. We cut out all the prayers and pages for our book, but we didn't finish coloring our lapbook so we will do that this year.  This lapbook is also like a prayer guide that can be read/prayed through during each of the "O" Antiphon days.    

Like I mentioned in this post, this Advent season I've made a conscious effort to try to learn and embrace the "O" Antiphon prayers and traditions as best as possible with my limited time and energy.  I spent many hours reading and researching great websites (and stayed up way too late) to learn about the "O" Antiphon prayers and then several more hours were spent creating a lapbook from several sources in hopes that our family could learn more together.

So what are the "O" Antiphons?  Lacy at Catholic Icing explains it all so nicely HERE so why reinvent the wheel right? :) 

With Lacy's post HERE at Catholic Icing and Chris' "O" Antiphon lapbook post HERE at Campfires and Cleats, I was inspired to create a lapbook  for my children. :)  I hope that this post will inspire you to learn more about the octave (8 days) before Christmas or the "Golden Nights " and that the lapbook will be used as a type of prayer guide for your children and/or yourself.  

I thought having my kids create a lapbook would be a fun way to learn the "O" Antiphons.  The lapbook was compiled and created from several sources which I will link in hopes that if you try this yourself, it will save you time and not take as long as it did for me. :)  The lapbook includes general information, a novena, Latin and English prayers, and coloring pages.   

The materials are basic:   2 file folders, printouts (refer to links below), one rectangular piece of purple cardstock and one rectangular piece of white cardstock (that is glued on the cover) , scissors, glue, crayons/coloring pencils.

I used 2 file folders, one yellow and one purple, to go with the Golden Nights and Advent theme.  I cut the tabs off the tops of the folders to make the sides look more even. (the right side of the folders below had the tabs that I cut off). 

I then inserted the purple folder into the yellow one and hole punched 2 holes on the left side of the folders, as shown in picture below.

I tied purple curling ribbon through the two holes to bind the folders together.

The Cover:
The top of the lapbook cover (O Antiphons general information) was printed from Lacy at Catholic Icing's Advent Christmas Planner that you can purchase HERE.  I folded the O Antiphons information in half, glued the bottom half, then glued a rectangular piece of purple cardstock (I actually just cut out a rectangle from another purple file folder) to the back of the top half as shown below.

The information that is glued in the middle of the purple rectangle was taken from THIS post. I printed copies of the first page and cut out this short paragraph:  The "O" Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The first letter of the Messianic titles: Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—spell out Latin words ERO CRAS, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come." 

Then each of my children wrote "O" Antiphons Lapbook on white cardstock and glued in the middle of front cover. (We forgot to add the "s" on "Antiphon" on their cover  :)  )

The "Golden Nights" Novena that is shown above was printed from Lacy's Advent Christmas Planner.  She explained how the novena starts on Dec. 16 so I put that on the cover. If you want to include the novena throughout your lapbook, but don't have Lacy's planner you could do a search on "Christmas Novenas" and find a prayer that starts on Dec. 16.  

2nd page (Dec. 17) and 3rd page (Dec. 18) 
On the yellow and purple sides of the lapbook at the top is the corresponding O Antiphons and Corresponding Symbols.  The chart for these symbols for each day can be found HERE.  The coloring pages can be found HERE.  The Novena prayer for each day that is glued onto the bottom of each page was copied from Lacy's Advent Christmas Planner

4th page (Dec. 19) and 5th page (Dec. 20).....refer to links above for printouts

6th Page (Dec. 21) and 7th page (Dec. 22)...refer to links above for printouts 

Last page (Dec. 23)....refer to links above for printouts

I wanted to include the last day of the Christmas Novena (Dec. 24) onto the back cover so I folded it and glued it to the back of the Dec. 23 Novena prayers (if that makes sense).  Here's pictures I took to show you what I mean:

And that's the end of the "O" Antiphons lapbook :)

Here are some pictures of my children starting their lapbooks.  We worked on the cover and Dec. 17 page tonight.  All my efforts were worth it as I heard one of my daughters exclaim, "This is the best Advent ever!" and "This is so fun!" :-)  (which also tells me I should be doing more of this "fun" stuff with my kiddos :-/ )

This is obviously a work in progress as I hope to have my children cut out, paste, and color each page during the "Golden Nights".  I plan to pull out these lapbooks each year so my children will always have a prayer guide during these last days of Advent. I hope to maybe make/buy ornaments some year to go with the "O" Antiphons as I have seen some beautiful ones on the internet! 

I plan to have my family listen to the video clips found HERE of the O Antiphons being sung to celebrate the Golden Nights.  Just beautiful!

Update:   Be sure to check out Jessica's O Antiphons 2014 post HERE at Shower of Roses with lots of fun ideas to celebrate these special days during Advent! 


May you have blessed Golden Nights as we get closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus!

7 Quick Takes on 12/13/14

This post contains affiliate links. 

Today's not Friday, but rather it's Saturday, 12/13/14 (well, it was late Saturday night when I started writing this post, but published it EARLY Sunday morning :) )   It's a cool date to publish a blog post on so that's one of many reasons I'm just writing my 7 Quick Takes post now!

I wrote a guest post on Home Educating Family Association (HEDUA) about the Family Fun Bucket that I published on my own blog. You can read my HEDUA post HERE.   If you have followed my blog, you may remember my post here about the buckets that make a very simple, fun and low cost gift!   So if you are looking for a last minute gift this Christmas season, this might be what you are looking for!  Check it out and enjoy!

 photo credit: Real Life Rosary Store

Speaking of gifts, if you are in the market for rosaries and rosary prayer guides, be sure to visit Real Life Rosary Store, where James Hahn and his beautiful family make these beautiful rosaries.  As stated on their "About Us" page: "We are a family-owned, small business, located in Southeastern Ohio.  We are dedicated to helping others grow in their faith especially through the Rosary.  All of our items are handcrafted by us."  James Hahn is also the author of  A Visit to Church: A Picture Journey and Rosary Meditations for Real Life.  Thank you for your support for the Hahn family and their ministry and business!


Amazon is offering another book coupon code! Use code BOOKDEAL25 to get an extra 25% off any book now through Sunday, December 14. One code per customer.  I used this code just today (12-13-14) and it worked and I enjoyed the savings!  I bought Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing which talks about Gaudete Sunday, which is tomorrow, 12-14-14.  I won't have this book in time for tomorrow's 3rd Sunday in Advent, but I'll have it for the rest of this Advent and next year. :)


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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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