Dried Citrus Christmas Decor And Ornaments

Here I am again with my dried citrus Christmas Decor ideas! I already have written about dried fruits ornaments and roses made out of citrus peels. What can I say, I just love the look of them and how easy they are to make! Did you know that you can use apples and pears as well as citrus fruits? And some people cover the slices after drying with clear craft varnish or decoupage glue, to keep them for a long time. You can use the dried fruit for making a beautiful Christmas wreath and spiced, with cinnamon or cloves, ornaments. Those dried fruits are great additions to garlands and they smell beautiful! I really suggest to dry them on the radiators now that it is winter. That way you save money from burning your oven.

dried fruits

Dried citrus fruits, apples and pears (image source)

Citrus Christmas Decor: Wreaths

Dried Citrus Christmas Decor dried fruits wreaths
Dried fruits wreaths (image source)

You could also buy one of these wonderful wreaths and add some Christmas decoration to it to make it more christmasy!

Dried Fruit Christmas Ornaments

citrus and spice ornament
Citrus and spice ornament (image source)
Dried Citrus Christmas Decor Dried fruit bells
Dried fruit bells (image source)

Whole Dried Oranges Christmas Garlands

Dried Citrus Christmas Decor dried fruit and spices garland
Dried fruit and spices garland (image source)

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Did you know you can buy dried natural materials to create your wreaths or garlands? There are even whole dried oranges or handy mixes of materials… You can find them here from Amazon.co.uk:

Dried orange slices and other natural craft material can also be found on Amazon.us:


And another idea

Dried Citrus Christmas Decor christmas garland and wreath
Christmas garland and wreath (image source)

Such beautiful ideas!!! Give it a try!

If you are looking for more Christmas craft ideas or Christmas Ornaments DIY’s, you can find a lot of them on Posimagine!

Healthy Toddler Snack: Whole Wheat Apple Muffins Recipe

Apple muffins
Apple Muffins

Sunday afternoon is increasingly becoming cake time lately. Or muffin time! Of course, always with the help of my kids. They get really excited every time, they just love to help! And what great helpers they are! I searched for an apple muffin recipe, which would be on the healthier side. After finding some recipes, I decided to go with the one from http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/04/whole-wheat-apple-muffins/ , which I adapted a bit to fit my taste and the ingredients I had at home. They came out delicious; we loved every bite of them.
So, here is the recipe for about 15 muffins

Ingredients for this healthy toddler snack:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ or less teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 medium eggs
¼ cup milk
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dark chocolate
1 teaspoon butter

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 220o C. Line your muffin tin.
In a bowl, mix together the first six ingredients. In another bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until somewhat fluffy. Next, add the eggs and mix well. You might need to scrape the sides. Next add the dry ingredients, the milk, and the apples and combine, taking care not to over-mix the dough.
Divide the dough into the muffin cups and bake for about 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to about 200o C and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the famous toothpick comes out clean. Take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Then take them out of the tin and let them cool on a wire rack.
Melt the dark chocolate and combine with the butter. Scoop the chocolate into a polybag and cut off the tip. Drizzle the chocolate over the muffins and enjoy!!!

Easy Kids Craft: Penguin Finger Puppets

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This easy kids craft project was shared by a close friend of mine and her kids! She knows how I am always looking for new fun crafts for kids to make, so she immediately sent it to us! They did a wonderful job, I can tell you that! Thank you so much for sharing!!! We can’t wait to make some craft together, soon!

Easy kids craft penguin finger puppet
Easy kids craft penguin finger puppet

Materials to make some cute penguin finger puppets

So, it is quite simple to make the penguins and a lot of fun, too!!! You will need stuff that you will have probably already in your house:

  • Black cardboard or paper for the penguin’s body
  • White cardboard or paper for the eyes and belly
  • Orange cardboard or paper for the nose
  • Paper glue
  • Scissors
  • A black or other color marker for the eyes or googly eyes
  • A pencil for tracing, if you need to
  • Other colors of cardboard or paper  and yarn if you’d like to add some more details
ready pinguins
DIY penguin finger puppets

How to make the easy kids craft penguins

  1. To get started, you’ll need to cut out of the black cardboard the penguin’s body and cut out two holes for the fingers. The shape of the penguin’s body is quite simple, you will not have any trouble with it, but if you want, first trace the shape of the body with a pencil and then cut it out Out of the white cardboard cut some oval eyes and the belly, like shown in the image. Also, cut a small triangle out of the orange cardboard.
easy kids craft penguin finger puppet diy and items
Items to be glued on the penguin’s body

2. Now, you can glue all elements on the penguin’s body. You can make him take on any expression you can think of.

easy kids craft penguin finger puppet diy
The first penguin
easy kids craft penguin finger puppet diy
and the second penguin

3. Now, take the marker and draw some details on the eyes to make your penguin alive, and ready you are to begin playing with them!!!

4. You could also add some other decorations to them if you would like to. A scarf, a hat or funny hairs out of yarn, would be a funny addition, don’t you think?

Last step: Have fun!!!

Once the penguins are ready, your kids can begin their adventure!!! Think about a story, add items and scenery, and just get started. Even a cute little diy puppet theater like this one from the blog Ruffles & Rain Boots would be wonderful for this and other stories to imagine and play!

If you liked this easy kids craft, you might like our unicorn puppet craft, too!

Orange Peel Rose: a Romantic Dried Fruit Decoration Idea

Orange’s peels are very versatile, as it seems! Here is another idea on how to use the peel: make an amazing orange peel rose out of them.

You can read more about what to make with orange peels in these articles:

The kids can easily help at any stage. Just the peeling will have to be done by a grown-up. And maybe when you need to stabilize something with a toothpick, you should do that, too, if your kids are not old enough.

All the other stuff – making the oranges, arranging them, dust them with some confectioner sugar, and eating the oranges, of course (lots of vitamins and Vitamin C!) – all can be done by the kids!

We have a lot of other fun craft ideas to make with the kids, so take a look at our other posts, like making easy canvas art or some beautiful string art to decorate your home!

So, here is how to do it and some ideas to display them.

romantic orange peel roses
Romantic orange peel roses

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How to make an orange peel rose

It is really easy. Peel the oranges carefully and then just roll them up. Ready are the orange peel roses!  When they are fresh, they are great decor for salads or other dishes, and if you let them dry, they can be used for decorating your home. By adding some essential oils or cinnamon sticks, they will make the room smell wonderful.

Find out more in our post with detailed instructions with lots of photos, and how using two different peeling tools can affect the results:

How to make Romantic Orange Peel Roses: Step by Step photo instructions

How to make orange peel roses
How to make orange peel roses (image source)

Decoration ideas with orange peel roses

  1. They can decorate wreaths, along with whole citrus fruits:

2. They can become pieces of art:

Framed orange flowers
Framed orange peel roses (image source)

3. They can make colorful additions in natural potpourri mixes,

orange peel decoration
Orange peel roses together with other natural potpourri

4. They can even become a beautiful flower bouquet that will last for a long time and smell like a walk in nature!

dried orange peel bouquet
Dried Orange Peel Roses as a rustic flower bouquet (image source)

Roses of other fruit peels

You can use other citrus fruits as well. Then you will have a nice variety of flower sizes and colors!

Roses fruit peel
Roses out of citrus fruit peels (image source)

I even tried to make a kiwi peel rose! It looks great when it is fresh and is ideal to use to decorate a table or dish! When it dries though, it loses its beauty.

kiwi peel rose
A rose out of kiwi fruit peel

Other flowers out of citrus fruit peels

And lastly, by cutting the peel on the one side (zick-zack or curves) and then rolling them up, you will get some beautiful flowers, even other than roses!

Various flowers out fruit peels
Various flowers out of orange peels (image source)

DIY balance beam hack for toddlers using carpets

 DIY Balance beam hack for toddlers
DIY Balance beam hack for toddlers

This one was discovered by my kids! Here in Greece, most of us have winter carpets and – not that necessary – summer carpets. When the seasons change we change the carpets accordingly! So, the time came for us to roll out our winter carpets, as annoying as it is to try to get some playdough out of it later on. We rolled the first one out, but, something – I don’t remember what – happened and we let the second one rolled up on the floor. The minute the kids saw it, the fun began! And behold, our DIY balance beam hack for toddlers using carpets came to life!

Up and down, back and forth, crawling, running, or balancing, they couldn’t get enough of it!!! It is kind of safe, since it has almost no height and we have it on the other carpet, so even if they should fall – which has not happened yet – it won’t be a hard fall.

Using everyday items can be so fun for kids!

Related: Our DIY Ping Pong Table for indoors how-to

It is so funny! You go out and buy all this stuff for them, only to find out that an everyday item could be so much more entertaining. And it is good for gross motor skill and balance skill development, too!!!

DIY balance beam hack
DIY balance beam hack using carpets

So, we let the carpet a few days rolled up, luckily the weather is warm enough until now. I can imagine making a whole set up with different types and lengths of carpets to challenge them even more!

If you have somewhere an old carpet, bring it into the room, tie the ends with some tape so it doesn’t roll open, and let your kids enjoy it! Not only will it provide hours of fun, but it will also teach them to use their imagination and innovation, repurposing everyday items and giving them a new role!

Related: Ikea Kids Room Bookshelf hack

But even if you don’t have a carpet available, there are these perfect foam balance beams meant for gymnastic training out there that would be perfect:

Also, you can buy these wonderful, fun, balancing step toys instead!

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How To Make DIY Ikea Hack Kids Bookshelves

diy books shelves
Our children’s new bookshelves

As our children book collection grew larger, we didn’t have any place to arrange my children’s books! And I certainly didn’t want to spend a lot of money to store them. While surfing the web one day, I came across the idea of an Ikea hack kids’ bookshelves and the day came to make it! In that post they painted the shelves white, we, on the other hand, thought to make them cheerful and colorful!

What did we do to make these Ikea hack kids bookshelves?

First of all, we bought some inexpensive selves used for storing spice containers. We used the ones from IKEA, which cost 6.99$ each. I am sure there are other selves or spice racks suited for this as well, but those were used also in the original article I got the idea from, so I used them, too.

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. Thank you!

ikea bekvam shelf
Ikea shelf

Next, we bought some plastic-acrylic paints– they were cheaper than the ones made for wood. We went for the colors green, yellow and red and our super-dad painted them. You can choose any colors you like, so it will match the room’s decor. Also, chalk paints are very popular these days, you could use them, too! And I am sure, spray paints would work great as well!

ikea hack kids bookshelves shelf and paints
Everything is ready to start painting

After they were completely dry, our dad put them together. Although first, we wanted to make one shelf green, one yellow and one red, our dad assembled it using different colors – brilliant!

ikea hack kids bookshelves
All colorful, dry and ready

Then he got his drill and put them up on the wall. Come to think of it, all the hard work was done by my hubby. Thank you so much for that!!!

And here is the result! Colorful, vibrant kids bookshelves, perfect for any kids room! Aren’t they great?

ikea hack kids bookshelves childrens book shelves
Finished children’s bookshelves

The kids loved them, they immediately wanted to start reading their books!!! You can read a post about our most children’s favorite books and our book advent calendars!

Healthy Toddler Recipe: Meatballs with Veggies

healthy toddler recipe meatballs with   veggies
Meatballs on a stick

This recipe has helped me so much! My little girl was never much of an eater, and so I had to make every bite count! And this healthy toddler recipe to make meatball with veggies is just perfect for that! It is also a great healthy recipe to make for when the baby is starting with baby finger food since the meatballs are soft and can be shaped or torn apart into baby mouth friendly sizes.

Ingredients for healthy meatballs with veggies

(please consider the age of your baby and what it is allowed to eat by your pediatrician)

  • ½ kg minced beef, turkey, chicken or veal meat
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 slices of whole-wheat bread
  • 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • small onion
  • carrot
  • red pepper
  • green pepper
  • zucchini
  • ½ cup parsley
  • salt, pepper (if your kids are old enough)

How to make this healthy toddler recipe

  1. In a food processor, process the onion, the carrot, the zucchini, the peppers, and the parsley until they are very finely processed.
  2. In a food processor, process the slices of bread until they are very finely processed.
  3. Make sure there are no larger bread or veggie pieces. Remove anything that looks to large.
  4. Put the minced meat, the egg, the olive oil, the breadcrumbs, and the finely processed vegetables and mix everything with your hands. Add oil or breadcrumbs necessary, until it has the right consistency and it can be shaped into small balls.
  5. Let the mixture rest for at least half an hour in the fridge.
  6. Shape mini meatballs
  7. Bring water to the boil and add the number of meatballs needed. Let them boil for about 15 – 25 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. You can steam-cook them if you prefer it. Now my kids are older, I even bake them in the oven.

This post contains affiliate links of products I recommend, which means I may receive a commission if you click an ad link and purchase something, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Some tips for the meatballs with veggies to make your mom life easier

You can add whatever vegetables your kid likes to the meatballs, like eggplants, tomatoes, broccoli, and even some rice. Just keep an eye on the consistency of the mixture, so that the meatballs keep their shape.

You can freeze the rest of the meatballs for the next time. Just line a freezer container with some parchment paper, arrange the meatballs so they don’t touch each other, put the container in the freezer overnight and the next day, you can take as many as you need, or transfer them into another smaller container or freezer bag and keep them in your freezer for when you need them!

Related: Baby finger food ideas and tips – and a meatball recipe

If your kids are older and like my older one, than they might like the meatballs on a stick! It ads fun, but be careful with the sticks!

Later on, this recipe can be made for the whole family!

Related: Healthy and Fun Pizza Recipe for Kids

Pizza Dough Recipe with Garlic and Oregano

Today, I’m sharing with you my favorite recipe for home-made, delicious Pizza!!! I mean, who doesn’t love Pizza? I don’t think a lot that can resist a slice, especially if it is home-made, with the best ingredients and toppings of your choosing! Our garlic and oregano pizza dough recipe is super yummy and aromatic! We love garlic and oregano in our recipes! But if you don’t like them, just make our recipe without them, it’s still a delicious pizza dough! Also, check out our favorite tomato sauce recipe and toppings for the perfect pizza!

pizza dough recipe
Our yummy pizza!

Garlic and oregano pizza dough recipe (1 pizza) ingredients

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2/3 cup luke-warm milk
  • 8 gr dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dry oregano (or to taste), 1 tablespoon
  • 1 garlic clove (or to taste), minced
  • olive oil, 1 tablespoon

How to prepare the garlic and oregano pizza dough recipe

Measure the dry ingredients and set them aside in cups. Have your kids throw all the ingredients, except the milk and olive oil, into a bowl. Mix them together. Then add the milk and knead (I use the stand mixer for that) and close to the end add the olive oil. Your aiming on getting a smooth, not too stiff, dough (maybe it will need some more milk or flour). Form the dough into a ball and let it rest in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with some plastic wrap, in a warm place (I use the oven for that, at 40 °C).

When the dough has about doubled its size (takes about an hour), knead it slightly. You can roll it out on a lightly floured surface – or put it on your baking tray which you have lined with some baking parchment – and roll it out.

Tomato sauce recipe ingredients

  • 1-2 ripe tomatoes (or canned tomatoes)
  • mustard, 1 tablespoon
  • pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon 
  • dried oregano, 2 teaspoons
  • olive oil, 2 teaspoons

Oregano Tomato sauce preparation

While the dough rests, prepare the tomato sauce. Peel the tomatoes and process them in a food processor, then put them into a saucepan. Boil a little until thickened, add the rest of the ingredients, stir and remove from heat. Let it cool down a little.

My all-time favorite pizza toppings

These are my favorites, but you can use whatever you like. Also, the amount of the ingredients is totally up to you! My kids like their pizza plain, with just tomato sauce and the cheeses, but they sure miss out on some yummy toppings! I hope they will add some when they get older!

My favorite classic toppings

  • mozzarella cheese, grated, 1 cup
  • gouda cheese, grated, 1 cup
  • red pepper, sliced, 1 cup
  • champignon mushrooms, sliced, 1 cup
  • ham, sliced, 1 cup
  • Extra virgin olive oil

My favorite alternative pizza toppings

Sometimes I like to mix things up a little, so I add some of these pizza toppings to the tomato sauce and cheeses. Here are three of my favorite pizza toppings!

1. Greek pizza toppings

  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Crumbled Feta cheese
  • Sliced olives
  • Extra virgin olive oil

2. Tuna pizza toppings

  • One can tuna, crumbled
  • Onion slices
  • Capers, strained
  • Slices olives
  • Extra virgin olive oil

3. Hawaian pizza toppings

  • Canned ananas slices
  • Ham
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Finishing our aromatic pizza

Now let your kids spread the tomato sauce and the mozzarella! Then let them arrange the rest of the ingredients, except for the gouda cheese.

Put the pizza in the preheated oven (180 °C) and bake for about 15-25 minutes, or until the pizza dough is done (it depends on how small the pizzas are and how thin you have rolled out the dough). Take the pizza out and spread the gouda on it. Throw it back into the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese melts.

Related: Healthy Toddler Recipe: Meatballs with Veggies

Pizza muffins for birthday parties or a snack

This recipe is also perfect to make some pizza-muffins! Pizza muffins are always a hit at our birthday parties!!! To make them you need to roll out the dough, use a round cookie cutter or a glass to cut out some dough circles. Take your muffin tray and spray it with baking spray. Line each muffin space with a round piece of dough, making sure to have dough on the sides (like making a tart). Fill the pizza muffins with sauce and toppings and bake them until golden brown!

That’s it! I am sure you’ll enjoy it!!!

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We made pompoms!!!

my pompoms
Those are the first tries – it’s going to get better, I promise!!!

As promised, I took my kids today outside and on the way to the grocery I made a quick stop at a store with yarns. We made plans to have some fun play with pompoms!

I bought a few nice ones – actually, some were chosen by my three-year-old son (you know how they choose, right? Son: “That one mom, I want that one!” Me: “Oh that’s nice! But isn’t this one with the many colors super-great?” – Well, it worked half the times and we, fortunately, avoided that awful brownish one he wanted at first!).

So, back at home, we began with the pompom making!!! That was fun!!! First, I tried a few methods and determined that I liked the one with only using the hands better. Next, I asked my boy for his helping hand. Literally! I used his sweet little hand for the first step. He was delighted! I don’t think he stands often that still for that “long”. Meanwhile, my 18-month old girl decorated the whole house laughing and running around with the neon-yellow yarn! She was having a blast!!! As soon as my son’s job was done, he moved on helping her decorating! You can imagine what my house looked like!

Next, I made the knot (it has to be as tight as possible). And then the cut with the scissors (you’ll need a good scissor for best results). And then… well then… well, at least my kids loved them, lol!!!

It took a few moments for me to realize that trimming the yarn was of out-most importance!!! Also, I maybe should choose some thinner yarn next time. Oh, and next time I’ll choose some funny yarns, too. You know, those fluffy, or flattened ones. And I saved the yarn that was trimmed. I really don’t know why!!! Maybe I’ll find some way of using them, stuffing something with it, perhaps.

Anyway, it was fun and we will surely make lot’s of them – after all, we have the yarn!!!