# Little Tree Crate

We loved our Swirly Ornaments holiday crate from Kiwi Co., and the kit for Little Tree turned out to be just as wonderful. The project set the stage for a festive mood inside our apartment on a drizzly December morning. Read on!

To start making the tree, we first needed to do some math, dividing the kit’s green pipe cleaners into two equal piles. This was a neat way to introduce Travis to counting out two sets of something, just as you would for dealing out cards in a game, for example.

Cut the pipe cleaners from one pile in half, and leave the others long.

Insert the provided wooden stick into the round wooden stand.

Starting with the long pipe cleaners, wrap around the stand.

Repeat with the short pipe cleaners. Travis loved the wrapping, and insisted on doing so himself for each one.

Adult step: snip the pipe cleaners at an angle, so your tree is a triangle shape. Travis was really psyched to see our fake tree in the same tapered shape as our real tree.

Peel the backing off a provided star sticker, and attach at the top of the tree.

Next up, thread on the provided beads and bells as ornaments. “Which are ornaments and which are lights?” Travis wanted to know.

Good question, but either way, all beautiful!

To make the base, use any round bowl to trace a circle onto the provided red felt.

Cut out and decorate with the provided gold glitter glue.

Travis was equally delighted by the “presents” that can go under the tree – two wooden cubes, onto which we glittered-glued pom poms.

You can set your tree out as a pretty decoration, and we also plan to leave it alongside cookies and non-dairy milk for Santa on Christmas Eve! It’s also the perfect size to be a play tree for your child’s stuffed animals.

To round out our festive morning, we made hot cocoa and added in a cute Snowman-themed spelling lesson from Education.com.

This fun picture word match was a great way to cuddle up inside during the cold winter months and practice Travis’s spelling skills. For more spelling activities and printables like this check out Education.com!

In sum, we had all the makings of a cozy winter morning.

# See a Children’s Play

Last month we took Veronika to her first art museum, and today it was time for her first play! As with the museum, it’s really never too early to expose children to the sights and sounds of the theater. Although the story and plot will be lost on an infant, the ambiance, sights, and sounds won’t be.

To wit, big sibs will love attending holiday shows this time of year, so off we went off to a performance of the Happy Elf.

The show is full of bright colors, cheerful songs set to jazz music, and vivid costumes.

To be honest, Veronika slept through a good bit of it.

But her eyes were wide and engaged when she did look around.

Meanwhile big sibs get to have fun, so it’s a win-win morning for the whole family.

# Baby Aerobics

Veronika is graduating… from baby stretching to baby aerobics, that is! We changed up the exercises a little bit today. By now she’s not so curled up in a ball like a scrunchy newborn, and it’s time to show her other ways her limbs can move.

First, simply hold the hands gently and lift the arms up and down. Cup the feet and do the same with the legs.

While holding the feet up, you can also move the legs apart and then back in together, then lower back to the floor. Veronika seemed surprised by this motion, but also seemed to enjoy it!

Next, lift the hands, and make little circles with the arms. Repeat with the legs, holding the feet gently. As we circled the limbs, I sang Baa Baa Black Sheep to help keep her calm and soothed.

Finally, I pedaled her legs like a bicycle game – I can’t help singing Queen’s Bicycle Race whenever I do this one!

This last is especially good for when Veronika has gas. I also lifted her legs just until her bottom was off the floor, and pushed her knees into the chest, a great way to relieve that troublesome infant gas. Do this just a few times, and you’ll be rewarded by a big baby smile.