Peppermint Candy Box

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It was all about holiday gifts in our home over the weekend. When we spotted these decorated cookie tins in Travis’s Highlights magazine, we knew we’d found the perfect gift for his kindergarten teachers!

Wrap a store-bought cookie tin in white felt.

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Use hot glue or tacky glue to adhere securely. We wrapped only the lids, since the bottom of our tins were already printed in holiday pictures, but you can wrap the whole box if desired. Cut out red pieces of felt to mimic the red swirls of a peppermint candy and glue these to the lid.

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Fill the tin with your favorite holiday cookies or other treats, of course!

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To finish the presentation, wrap in plastic wrap (or clear cellophane) and secure with green ribbon on each side so it looks like a peppermint candy waiting to be twisted open.

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Dream Pillow

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At thirteen months old, Veronika is finally sleeping with a few stuffed animals and other soft things in her crib. In particular, I made the change because she seems to want comfort in the middle of the night, and is learning to self-soothe like a champ. This crafty idea for parents is in the hopes of giving your little one sweet dreams!

Use puffy fabric paints to design anything on a white pillowcase that would appeal to your child. Veronika loves firetrucks right now, so that was a natural choice, including a siren and a note that this vehicle-loving girl is fast even when asleep.

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I added hearts and messages of love for extra sweet dreams.

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Big siblings might want to get involved too! Let the paint dry completely, then wash the pillowcase before use.

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Veronika loved the feel of the puffy pants, and seemed to find comfort in the item almost immediately. We love that this can travel with us, too, for familiarity even if she sleeps in a travel crib while away.

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Crystal Chemistry Tree Crate

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Of all the holiday projects from Kiwi Co this year, this was by far Travis’s favorite. You can follow along on this project with materials from the craft store and drugstore; do supervise very closely, as chemicals (ammonia in particular) are involved. But the result is stunning!

To start, we needed to prepare the planting pot. Insert a plastic cup into a silver cup, and decorate with the provided red ribbon for a festive touch. The tree is two pieces of cardboard that slot together. Travis “planted” this firmly.

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He loved the felt ornaments to hang on the tree!

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As a final decoration, twist together three silver pipe cleaners, and arrange as a star on top.

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Now it was time for some science. I poured the bluing solution into the plastic cup first. A bluing solution is potassium nitrite and sodium hydroxide dissolved in water. Travis was a good sport listening to all the safety cautions about handling these chemicals

Next I poured in the provided ammonia. He was not a fan of the smell! Finally, we poured the provided salt packet evenly around the tree.

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Use the provided pipette to drip the solution over the tree branches until saturated.

Only an hour later, I noticed that already a few little sparkles had appeared. Travis went to bed full of wonder at how it might look in the morning.

To be perfectly honest, I’d forgotten about it when we came down for breakfast. “Mom, look!” he called out. I, too, was stunned with the white frosty crystals blooming all over the branches.

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One note of caution: the crystals are very delicate and will fall off at even the tiniest budge, so have your tree some place up high where it won’t get jostled.

Over breakfast, read about what happened. The cardboard soaks up the solution (so a plastic tree, for example, wouldn’t work here), but the liquids evaporate overnight as gases. The salt can’t do this, so it is left behind. Ammonia is present because it helps the evaporation happen faster. And voila – a chemis-tree!

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