I Spy Christmas Sensory Bag

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

I love to make crafts and activities with the kids based on books. It’s a fun way to help reinforce what they saw in the book. The inspiration for this I Spy Christmas sensory bag is the book I Spy ChristmasI Spy Christmas Sensory Bag based on the I Spy Christmas bookLast year, we made a Christmas Counting I Spy Sensory Bottle and the kids really enjoyed discovering what they could see inside it.

This year, after reading I Spy Christmas and finding the hidden things within its pictures, I made this simple I Spy Christmas Sensory Bag.

To make this Christmas sensory bag, all you will need is:

  • medium sized resealable bag
  • coconut flakes
  • bag of small Christmas shaped buttons or small Christmas themed trinkets

We actually found a bag of flaked coconut that was very expired when one of my sons was helping me clean out the pantry so it was perfect to use in this sensory activity rather than wasting it.

Place the coconut and Christmas shapes inside the resealable bag and close. For younger children, you can also add packing tape folded over the top so that they can’t open it.

Ours included shapes like a Christmas tree, gingerbread men, stockings, and most importantly, baby Jesus. After all, it is Him that we celebrate at Christmas and Him that I most want my kids to focus on even in a simple sensory bag. Jesus is the treasure waiting to be discovered in this sensory bag and in our lives.

i-spy-christmas-sensory-bag-squareThis activity is part of a series of activities with children’s Christmas books. Follow along this week to see the fabulous ideas! 10 bloggers, 10 books and 10 days of Christmas Activities inspired by children books that are faith based. Make sure to follow along, you can take a look at the schedule over at Inspired by Familia blog. Here are our fabulous bloggers: Inspired by Family, Meaningful Mama, Teaching Mama, Beautiful Messy Motherhood, Happy Home Fairy, Simple home Blessings, The Chaos and the Clutter, Creative Family Fun, True Aim Education and Sunshine Whispers!


Christmas Counting I-Spy Sensory Bottle


No Rise Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Drizzle

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

These no rise cinnamon buns are quick to make. This makes them the perfect thing to make for last minute visitors. They go well with tea or coffee. They also make a great Christmas morning breakfast since they require so little time to make.

These easy no rise cinnamon buns are perfect for last minute guests or for Christmas morning. 30 minutes including bake time!!!Cinnamon buns are one of the first things that I learned to bake. They seemed like a big undertaking so I used to make the dough in my bread maker but over the years as my confidence has grown, I have tried many versions of cinnamon buns and haven’t found any yet that I don’t like because it’s hard to go wrong with delicious dough, cinnamon and sugar! What I like about this particular recipe is that they can be made much faster than my other recipes because you don’t need to leave time for them to rise and there is no yeast to contend with.

This recipe is based on one from my friend Jennifer’s mom who created it based on the dough in tea biscuits. I think that’s a pretty smart way to create a no-rise cinnamon bun for those times you’re in a hurry.

No Rise Cinnamon Buns Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup cold butter, cut into Tablespoons
¾ cup cold buttermilk

For the filling:

1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until there are pea sized pieces.

Add the cold buttermilk all at once and mix until the dough forms a ball.

Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface, shaping into a large rectangle.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon filling.

Spread the filling evenly on top of the cinnamon bun dough, then roll the shortest ends toward each other.

Cut the cinnamon bun log into 2-3″ pieces and place them in a buttered casserole dish. I like to slice mine with a piece of string or dental floss as I find this saves time and makes less mess.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown.


Cream Cheese Drizzle Recipe:

2 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups icing sugar (also called powdered sugar)

While the cinnamon buns are cooling, whip together the cream cheese drizzle, adding more sugar if desired for a thicker drizzle or more corn syrup for a lighter drizzle.

no-rise-cinnamon-bunsThese no rise cinnamon rolls are of course best served warm, but even if they are served once they have cooled, you won’t be hearing any complaints!

Some of our other popular recipes:

Zucchini Bread squareZesty Zucchini Bread

What I’m Reading – November, 2016

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

A perfect vacation in my mind is one where I’m able to read and read and read. At the beginning of November, we went to Mexico to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. I cannot remember another vacation where I was actually finished all of the books I brought with me. This time, I even had to borrow one from the lending library there! It was bliss.

november-readsThe Stand by Stephen King – I finally finished reading this humongous book. According to my husband, it is a science fiction novel which is surprising because I don’t usually read science fiction. I started reading it on my friend Christie’s recommendation. Loved it. There were parts that dragged on a bit but in general, it was an amazing book. A classic representation of good versus evil written in the way that only Stephen King can write it.

Betrayed by Lindsey Harris – This true story was shocking and unthinkable although I certainly was able to figure out who was ruining this family’s life much sooner than the mother was. I did find the book to be predictable and was somewhat frustrated that the mother couldn’t figure out what was going on but I do know that it’s certainly easier to be on the outside looking in and thinking that it must have been obvious when so many involved did not see the truth so it must have been well hidden.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena – I had heard this book was along the lines of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl in that it is twisty and relational which is what intrigued me. Considering that this is the first novel by Shari Lapena, I was impressed. While I didn’t find it as twisty as the other books it was likened to, I did find it an enjoyable read.

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker – I know that there’s currently some controversy surrounding Jen Hatmaker and I have no intention on commenting on that. This book had been recommended to me and it was very thought-provoking.

At first, I’ll admit that I was really bothered by the chapters that seemed out of place in a serious book. There was a chapter making fun of certain fashion trends and I found that strange because it seemed judgmental in a book about showing love and grace. There were other chapters like that as well HOWEVER, after I decided to see them another way, I wasn’t bothered by them anymore. I decided to see them as commercials. Some of the topics in the book were quite heavy so these “commercials” were actually a nice way to infuse some humour and lighten the mood.

I dog-eared the book in many areas that I want to revisit and give more thought to. I already have plans that will increase the weight I put on relationships in my life based on things I read in the book.

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes – Wow. This is the kind of story that changes your paradigms. I will never think of prostitution or human trafficking the same way again. Trafficked is the true story of a girl from the UK, a smart, pretty, well spoken girl from a middle class family, who was trafficked by someone she knew, someone who was her best friend for 4 years. The terror she experienced defies words.

Melted Snowman Sensory Bottle

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

In the words of my kids, this is the “cutest sensory bottle ever”! I came up with the idea to make a melted snowman sensory bottle when I was at the craft store and saw an adorable snowman making kit. I imagine what would be left of a melted snowman and found a way to represent it in a discovery bottle.

This melted snowman sensory bottle is adorable!When I set out this year to create a new sensory bottle every month, I worried that I would run out of ideas, but they always come from some inspiration or another.

It’s the middle of November and where I live in Canada, there’s usually enough snow to have built a snowman family in the yard by now but as of today, there isn’t any snow on the ground so this melted snowman sensory bottle really got the kids’ imaginations going.

melted-snowman-sensory-bottle-squareMaterials needed:

  • large empty water bottle (I used a Voss water bottle because I like the shape of them)
  • 5 dry black beans
  • 3 black or grey buttons
  • 2 colourful larger buttons
  • orange sponge, cut into the shape of a carrot
  • 2 twigs
  • small piece of fabric, cut in a rectangle
  • 2x 5 oz. bottles of clear glue
  • scissors

Empty the water from the water bottle and squirt the clear glue in. Add warm water to almost fill the bottle and add the lid back on and then shake the glue and water together for a bit to combine. Little ones are often very helpful with this task!

Add the other items into the bottle. The twigs are for the arms, the black beans for the mouth, the fabric strip for the scarf, the dark buttons for buttons, the colourful larger buttons for the eyes, and the carrot shaped sponge for the nose.

melted-snowman-sensory-bottle Add the lid back on and your melted snowman sensory bottle is ready to use for play. If you have younger children, you may want to hot glue the lid in place so they can’t open it. As with all sensory and exploration activities for kids, adult supervision is of course recommended.

Christmas I Spy Discovery BottleChristmas Counting I-Spy Sensory Bottle

Snowflake Discovery BottleSnowflake Sensory Bottle