Winter Holidays

Cinnamon ‘n’ Spice Ornaments Herb Style

Cinnamon Ornaments

Here is our second round of cinnamon ‘n’ spice ornaments!  We had so much fun coming up with ways to decorate using botanicals.  Check out my other post Cinnamon ‘n’ Spice Ornaments Craft Style for full instruction on how to make this aromatically stimulating craft.  Trust me these are easy, stimulate a lot of imagination in kids and smell amazing!  You won’t be disappointed.

We found that using herbs to decorate worked best in two different ways:

  • First, if you want to press the botanical into the ornament while it is wet, like with cloves or rose buds, it is best to leave the ornament in the cookie cutter while you and placing the botanical.  Otherwise the dough kinda of falls apart and then you have to start all over again.
  • Second, you can simply glue the herb to the ornament once it is dry.  This worked best for star anise, lavender blossoms and hawthorn berries.  A hot glue is the best choice for attaching large pieces while you can use school glue for small things like lavender blossoms.


My little one tried her hand at carving a shape.  It was a good experiment.

Unfortunately, it did hold together as well as the ornaments we cut out with cookie cutter.

Anise star heart

For this one we pressed cloves around the edge and then let the ornament dry before hot gluing a lovely star anise in the center.

Rose bud star

I love little baby rose buds, don’t you?

These all had little stems that we pressed into the dough.

Lavender Heart

This was super easy.  Once the ornament was dry we covered the top with a thin layer of white glue and pressed lavender blossoms all around the top.  I think this would be lovely done with something like anise seeds too.

Herbie gingerbread person

Decorated by my sweetie with hawthorn berries and cloves.

Kids love to decorate gingerbread people!

Herbie gingerbread person

Another creation.  This one has a bit of star anise for a smile.

The two gingerbread people are “married” according to their little creator.

Christmas Tree


Christmas tree complete with a shining star on top!

We love crafting for the holidays!  Do you enjoy making things with your kids?  I would love to hear about it!

Happy Holidays!

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Parenting, Playing With Herbs, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cinnamon ‘n’ Spice Ornaments Craft Style

Combine a lot of cinnamon with some applesauce and what do you get?  A delicious smelling dough for crafting!  Add some ginger, cloves and orange essential oil and the dough becomes incredibly fragrant, almost enchanting in its olfactory expression.  Oh my…

cinnamon and sparkles

These lovely ornaments are decorated with crafty stuff like glitter and glue. Next week, after I have a chance to make some of these with my kids, I will have a post about ornaments decorated with herbie stuff for a more natural look!

We made these ornaments at preschool to decorate for our holiday show this Friday night.  When I brought in an example ornament the kids all exclaimed, “Cookie!”  Which prompted a discussion about if  it would be OK to eat our ornaments.  Once I was sure the kids would refrain from taking a nibble, we started making our dough.  As usual we sat in a circle on the floor to work together bringing all us right in to the activity.

mixing it up

Making The Ornaments

Ingredients ~

  • 1 1/2 cups of ground cinnamon (can be expensive right?  I got mine in a huge jar at Costco for $3!)
  • 1/2 cup of other ground spices such as ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves.  We used cloves and ginger a 1/4th cup each to make our super yummy smelling ornaments
  • 10 drops of sweet orange essential oil
  • 1 to 2 cups of applesauce
  • 4 Tbsp school glue, like Elmer’s

Instructions ~

Put all your ingredients in a bowl starting with 1 cup of applesauce and mix it up.  (We passed the bowl around our circle so everyone got a chance to stir and smell our creation up close.)  You want the dough to be firm and a bit wet.  It will be sticky but not so sticky that it is hard to work with.  If it is too dry and crumbly, add more applesauce a little at a time.  If it is too wet, add more cinnamon.  Next dust a table with some cinnamon and then dump the dough out on the table.  You can either roll it out or just pat it down until it is about a 1/4″ thick or so, if you make it thinner than  1/4″ your ornaments will be more likely to break.  Trust me, I know!  Let the kiddos help you pat it down if they want, they like this part.  If your dough is cracking when you roll/pat it out then it is too dry so add a bit more applesauce.  No need to put it back in the bowl, you can just mix it on the table.

all ready to cut out

After you have your dough flatten out to a 1/4″ or so, then it is time to cut shapes with cookie cutters.  Let the kiddos cut out their shape and the use a straw to make a hole in the ornament for a string to go through.

cutting the dough

Using a spatula place the ornament on a cookie sheet or drying rack and let it dry for a few days.  You can also place them in a 170 degree oven for a few hours to dry being careful to check them and turn them often so they don’t burn.  Once they are dry, they are ready to decorate or to simple hand with a pretty ribbon.

cinnamon dough

Ideas For Decorating ~


  • glitter
  • glitter glue which could be like “piping” frosting on a cookie
  • small pom poms
  • sequins
  • small gems
  • paint, don’t cover completely or you may lose the smell
  • beads to decorate a ribbon or chenille stem for hanging


  • cloves ~ can you shove them into the dough before it dries?
  • rose buds
  • lavender blossoms
  • anise stars
  • elder berries or other berries

We didn’t use any of these at the school and I am excited going to experiment at home with my kids!  

We finally had time to play!  Check out our herbie decorated ornaments!


My nightmarish experience with cinnamon ornaments and eight little preschoolers….

In some ways these couldn’t be simpler to make but I must confess that I had a bad time trying to make these a few years ago when I started teaching at the preschool.  Here is what happened…  After making a succesful test batch at home with my little girl, I went into the preschool all ready to have a fun day with the kids.  Unfortunately, when we made our dough it was too sticky so we needed to add more cinnamon.  Problem was, all the cinnamon was gone.  So we added flour.  Not a good idea.  The dough became very sticky and the kids had their hands in it at the time.  So there I was with eight freaked out little kids, hands covered in globby goop.  Luckily the other teachers at the school helped out and we got everyone cleaned up in no time.  Whew!  So it was with a bit of trepidation that I made these this year at the school and I am so glad I did!

More Ways To Play With Cinnamon:

Shared On: The Kid’s Co-op, The Imagination Tree

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Playing With Herbs, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Gingerbread House Party

It’s An Artistic Expression…

Ok, so I am not into candy, like at all.  Well, unless it is dark chocolate.  And while I don’t stop my kids from having an occasional munch, I certainly don’t promote it.  What I am into is kids doing lots of fun art, expressing themselves and getting lost in the enchantment of their own imagination.  Cooking with kids and getting them inspired about food is also big on my list.  So when I found out about the gingerbread house making birthday parties offered at a wonderful local cooking school, I had to jump on the chance for my little one’s sixth birthday party.  She loves to cook and create so I knew this would be a great opportunity for her.

This is not only review of a very fun educational place in Boulder, Colorado, it is also a sharing of a very fun time with lots of great ideas for making your own wonderful gingerbread houses!  At the bottom of this post are links to more great ideas for making a healthy gingerbread house.   Stir It Up Cooking School offers fun, exciting cooking classes, parties and camps for kids in a homey loving atmosphere.  It is a school of great imagination and fun!  If you are in the Boulder area and looking for some cooking fun, I highly recommend you look up this great school!

yummy fun

We had her party late in the season last year and I have waited this whole time with oodles of great pictures to share and all the fun of the day as well.

Sue, who was the amazing woman who ran V’s party, did a great job keeping the kids busy and engaged that whole time.  She started the party by having the kiddos make quesadillas and ice cream from scratch to have as a snack after all their hard work.  The kids each learned how to grate cheese and used cookie cutters to create a shape in the top of their quesadilla.  Then they quickly whipped up some wonderful ice cream and everyone watch enchanted as Sue filled up the ice cream maker.

Next they were on to making their houses.  Sue had baked up some simply lovely gingerbread house pieces which smelled heavenly.  The kids took off with painting their roofs.


After the kids finished painting their roofs of course they needed to make Christmas trees to put inside their houses.  What do you use for trees?  Ice cream cones!  Painted green, decorated and placed pointy side up, ice cream cones make the perfect tree.

cone painting

Next the houses came out which were all pre-assembled on little cake cardboard rounds.  Excellent instructions were given to the kids on how to use a pastry bag for decorating.  Finally came the candies with many wonderfully creative ideas of how to use them.  The frosting made the perfect glue for decorating.  I was so impressed by Sue’s imagination, she had lots of fun ideas for using the candies.


Pretzel waffley things glued together became cozy chairs for gummy bears seated around the tree.  Outside the house two little ducks swim in a pond.


Notice the presents?


Lovely siding!


Lollipops lamp-post…

lollipop light post

V helps Sue put her roof on her house.


The class was so engaging that aside from frosting licked off fingers, no candy eating really happened except a stray piece here and there.  And once we were home the houses were just to pretty to eat.  So I guess the kids really did create a piece of art work after all.  And most important, they had an absolute blast!

Looking for some healthy gingerbread house alternatives to make at home?  

Me too!

Here is what I found so far:

Eat Chic Chicago  shows how to make a beautifully decorated house with nuts and dried fruit.

Simply Home Making   Another fun house with lots of ideas.  Also great pictures with instructions on how to bake the pieces for a house.  My favorite part is the popcorn roof with a whiff of popcorn smoke coming from the chimney.

Medomak Family Camp has ideas for a sweet little house and plus more great instructional pics.

Cooking Matters offers lots of fun ideas to use with a graham cracker base.

Shared On: It’s Playtime!, The Kid’s Co-Op, The Imagination Tree, Sunday Parenting Party

Categories: Adventures And Stories, Parenting, Winter, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

An Enchanted World, Snowglobes ~ Snow and Ice Part 3

Peering into another world all mystical with sparkly swirls, I was enchanted.  It was my very own snowglobe, precious to me, invoking imagination.  I would stare into that small contained world for what seemed like hours and dream of what it would be like to be inside, to be part of that world.  I don’t even remember what was in my snowglobe but I do remember feelings of wonder, curiosity and joy.

I wanted to share my childhood delight with the kids at the preschool, so we made our very own snowglobes.  I had a supply of pretty rocks, dinosaurs, fairies and glitter for the kids to choose from.  We made a little scene by gluing the rocks down onto jar lids then we added either a fairy or a dinosaur.

Next we put water and glitter our jars.  After the glue dried we put the lid on and there it was, a beautiful little world!

Sadly, the worlds we made came apart.  After researching online, I had decided to use hot glue to secure our little scenes but the figures and rocks did not stay glued down.   Oh, it was just so sad.  I told the kids that if their fairy or dinosaur came loose, well, it was just because they wanted to fly, to be free.  Gratefully the kids where totally fine with this and seemed to find it exciting.  In fact the kids and the parents all seemed to really like the snowglobes just the way they were.  Whew!  I did research other forms of glue at our local craft store but I wasn’t able to find one that would work in water and that I felt comfortable using around preschoolers.  If anyone has a recommendation, I am all ears!

More Please ~  Check out other fun ice and snow experiments…

Categories: Fun Crafts, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Grapevine Magic

During high school I had a brief but very enjoyable sojourn into wreath making.  I was inspired to make wreaths after seeing them at our local craft fair, Molly McGee’s, which my mom and I frequented together each Holiday season. This was a passion for me and I reveled in placing delicate dried flowers, eucalyptus and ribbons around gracefully woven together grapevine finding the perfect position for each item.  As I journeyed around the wreath, placing and gluing each botanical the wreath would magically transform and surprise me with its result.

 So I was really excited to find mini grapevine wreaths at a local kid’s sale this fall because these wreaths were the perfect size to make into something magical with the kids at school.  This is a great project for all ages.  My girls and I also did this together at home and we had a great time together.

I always do my best to engage the kids as much as possible with the projects we do.  So I started them off with something they always love, glue.  Each child received a wreath, a Q-tip or paint brush and some Elmer’s glue.

painting with glue

I had them “paint” the glue all over the wreath and then we sprinkled glitter, ground cinnamon, and lavender blossoms all over the wreath.  My hope was to make the wreath smell good and sparkle.

sparkled and scented

After the wreaths dried it was time for the hot glue gun.  For decorating their wreaths the kids chose from some of the most lovely and fragrant dried botanicals: cinnamon sticks, star anise and tiny pink rose buds.  Working with each child I had them show me where they wanted to put things and then I glued them on with the hot glue gun.

star anise and baby roses

As magical as they are, hot glue guns can burn, so an adult should be in charge of using them.   At home, I did let my 6-year-old use the hot glue gun on her own  for the first time for this project.  After we talked about how to use the glue gun safely and with me watching closely, she did just fine.

hot gluing

I was surprised at how excited the kids were about this project.  As I started working with the first child a crowd gathered around the table where we were working.

Onlookers exclaiming, “Ms. Angela, what is that?”

“When will it be my turn?”

“Can I watch?”

I love it when they get excited!

As we worked together, the wreaths began to take shape under the guidance of each child.  And just like when I made my own wreaths long ago the results were a delightful surprise. Each one came out differently, unique like their little creators.  I think the wreaths are great and the kids were so proud!  We topped them off with a little ribbon for hanging and viola!

We used these in our Holiday gift bags but this would make a great craft anytime of year.

What you need for this project

  • grapevine wreath
  • star anise
  • cinnamon sticks
  • dried rose buds
  • ground cinnamon and/or other sweet ground spices
  • lavender blossoms
  • glitter
  • glue
  • hot glue gun

Other ideas for adding to a wreath

  • dried orange
  • dried apple slices
  • cloves
  • dried cranberries
  • Any other dried pretty or cool looking botanical

Have fun and happy crafting!

Shared on: Natural Living Link Up , It’s Playtime!, The Kid’s Co-op

Categories: Cinnamon and Spices, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Playing With Herbs, Roses, Something Fun, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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