When my kids were in Kindergarten (before we decided to homeschool) they came home during the holidays with the most adorable little handmade ornaments that smelled wonderful. Covered in paint and glitter, their ornaments filled our home with the smells of Christmas that year.
Tied to these little ornaments was the recipe on how to make more. It was one of my favorite little gifts I received and every year I loved pulling it out to hang on our trees.
Since it has been awhile that I made these little ornaments I thought it would be a fun project to work on while up north for this last trip we took. So I loaded up all my craft supplies I would need, making sure to check everything a couple times because there are no craft stores or department stores where we were headed. I hate it when I forget something when we are up north. We are after all, in the middle of nowhere. In situations like that, you learn who your true friends are.
I will never forget that first day we finally got the little red house and how we couldn’t wait to start fixing it up. That first day working inside painting, at one point, I notice my son was no longer behind me helping me with this job. One look out through the window and I saw exactly were he was…next door talking to our neighbor.
Stepping off the ladder, covered in paint I walked over there to get him and see what he was up to. When I got to our neighbors front door and introduced myself she smiled and said hello and then said the strangest thing ever “ I’ll have the horse ready as soon as I saddle her up” I looked down at my little boy wondering what their conversation had been about earlier and our neighbor saw my confusion and answered my puzzled look for me “ He asked to borrow one of our horses”.
I started laughing and explained to our new neighbor that my children had never ridden a horse before, they don’t know anything about horses and we don’t need to borrow one… but thank you.
On the walk back to our place I had to explain to my son that it is okay to borrow sugar or eggs or even tools to fix something but a horse is not something we borrow. He just looked back up at me and said “ We’re in the country now mom, they lend out horses” and apparently he was right. I still, to this day, do not know what he was planning on doing once that horse was saddled up and delivered to him.
Eventually the kids did get those horses to ride on; there were a lot of horses around that little red house and friendly neighbors that loved to share them. The lesson here is that in the middle of nowhere, you learn who your friends are, especially when you forget something back in the city, which we have done so many times over the years.
Luckily there are not a lot of supplies needed for this quick little non-edible recipe to forget.
You will need:
1 cup cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons of glue ( optional)
Ribbons, paints, glitter and glue for decorations.
Family and friends (the more the merrier) to make these with
Get out a large bowl and start adding all your ingredients. You can mix with a spoon but it works better mixing with your hands.
After you have kneaded your dough for a while, you can start rolling out the dough to cut out your cookie shapes with. Sprinkle a little cinnamon down in case dough sticks to counter.
I wanted to do a deer shape but it was extremely difficult because the legs were so thin. I don’t recommend using cookie cutters with long thin shapes. Stick with hearts, stars, circles and simple shapes. Don’t forget to poke a hole in the top with a straw to hang a string from later.
You can cook your ornaments on low heat about 200F for 21/2 hours.
There is also air-drying but air-drying can take days, especially if there is a lot of moisture in the air where you live.
Once they have dried, you can start decorating. Use puffy paints, decoupage glue, acrylics and pretty ribbons to decorate your ornaments. Tie a string through the hole and hang on your trees and around your homes.
These also make nice name tags for gifts or air fresheners in your cars. Making these up at the little red house made the whole place smell like Christmas inside. While they were baking the smell was coming out our front doors and opened windows filling that tiny town with the Christmas spirit, and that was one of my goals all along.
My favorite part about this project was and always is that we are keeping things simple by making our decorations ourselves. I love the holiday decorations available at stores but this year we are going to try to be even more frugal then Christmas pasts. It is our gift to the planet as well as a gift to us. Happy decorating everyone…and please remember these little ornaments are not to eat.
Special note: This craft might be a little overwhelming for some children with Autism. The cinnamon smell could upset them if they are hypersensitive to smells. You know your child best, try it out, see what they can tolerate a bit at a time, then have fun experimenting with different fragrances. Using fragrances in your lessons and therapies can be a great way to work in some sensory play. The texture of cinnamon and glue can be a little aggravating, so as always make sure you have a large bowl of water near by for them to dip their hands in when it gets to be too much.