A Christmas Memory 100 Years in the Making

"Christmas Truce 1914" by Robson Harold B - This is photograph Q 50719 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png#mediaviewer/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png
“Christmas Truce 1914” by Robson Harold B – This is photograph Q 50719 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums..

The Christmas season often bring memories and reflections on Christmases past.  One of our favorite Christmas stories is the infamous Christmas Truce between British and German soldiers during World War I. If you haven’t shared this beautiful and miraculous story with your children, take a moment and do so on this 100 year anniversary of that event.

On the days leading up to Christmas Eve, 1914, German troops posted along the western front began decorating the area around their trenches.  On Christmas Eve, they put candles in the trees and in the trenches and began to sing Christmas carols.  Because they were ensconced in their trenches within shouting distance of the British line, the British soldiers could see and hear the festivities occurring.  Before long, the British responded with carols of their own, and soon both sides were shouting Christmas greetings to each other.

Within a short period of time, some brave soldiers laid down their arms and crossed the No-Man’s Land between the two trenches to personally greet the soldiers they were supposed to be shooting at on the other side.  This led to the exchanging of small gifts between the men.  They shared food, games, mementos, tobacco, chocolate, buttons, and even hats.  More importantly they shared pictures of their families and stories of their home lives.  One British soldier had received a new soccer ball from home and an impromptu soccer game broke out between the two sides.

Henry Williamson, a nineteen-year-old private in the London Rifle Brigade wrote to his mother, “Dear Mother, I am writing from the trenches. It is 11 o’clock in the morning. Beside me is a coke fire, opposite me a ‘dug-out’ (wet) with straw in it. The ground is sloppy in the actual trench, but frozen elsewhere. In my mouth is a pipe presented by the Princess Mary.  In the pipe is tobacco. Of course, you say. But wait. In the pipe is German tobacco. Haha, you say, from a prisoner or found in a captured trench. Oh dear, no! From a German soldier. Yes a live German soldier from his own trench. Yesterday the British & Germans met & shook hands in the Ground between the trenches, & exchanged souvenirs, & shook hands. Yes, all day Xmas day, & as I write. Marvellous, isn’t it?”

This wonderful truce may have only lasted through Christmas Day, 1914, but it has managed to inspire people the world over for a century.  Share it with your family to keep the memory alive and to remind them of the joy and blessings the Christmas season brings.

Merry Christmas from JM Cremps!

The above photo is Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png#mediaviewer/File:Christmas_Truce_1914.png

Tips for Hunting Christmas Trees With Kids

It’s Christmas Tree Decorating season.  For many families this is a much anticipated tradition.  Whether you use an artificial tree or a real one doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that the decorating tradition is unique to your family.  At JM Cremps, we are all about family traditions.  One of our favorite traditions is to set up the Christmas tree, gather the kids, and read Jan Brett’s Home for Christmas.

Make Your own family tradition
Make your own family tradition during the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. (photo courtesy of growinghunters.com)

If your family doesn’t have an established tradition, make this your year to start one.  Finding a live Christmas tree can be a wonderful way to establish your own family tradition.   Nick Myatt, author of the Growing Hunters blog, gives some helpful tips to make sure your hunt for the perfect tree turns into a memorable and enjoyable family experience.

Christmas Carols Required

Make the drive half the fun of your trip.  Christmas is the one time of the year where it is socially acceptable to sing as a family in the car.  Think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  Play Christmas carols obnoxiously loud and sign along.  Be corny; have fun.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush things.  Make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy yourselves and spend time as a family.  Allow time for distractions and side adventures – going to the woods for a tree doesn’t have to be all about finding a tree.

Road Hunting Encouraged

Save your little guy’s legs and slowly drive along forest roads looking for good trees or spots to get out and explore.  Stop often and take mini tree-finding expeditions.  Speaking from experience; don’t wonder very far from the truck – otherwise Dad will have to carry that perfect tree that Mom found a long way! You don’t want Dad to turn into the Grinch.

Make A Day or Weekend Out of It

Make this tradition more than just a trip into the woods to cut a tree.  Getting the tree should be the focal point of the day, but after you find a tree, spend time sledding, build a bonfire and roast marshmallows, or have a snowball fight.  Better yet – make it a full weekend and rent a cozy cabin in the woods.

Get The Kids Involved

Make sure your kids are part of the process, not just along for the ride.  Let them help hunt for the tree, choose where to stop, and which tree to bring home.  Letting them help select the tree can take some creative parenting at times – especially when they get their hearts set on the scraggliest, most Charlie Brown of all trees in the forest.

This article was reposted from the Growing Hunters Blog. Read more tips and the complete article, Hunting Christmas Trees with Kids, by clicking here.

Battle It Out! Remote Control Toy Tanks That Win

Remote control toy vehicles have been a favorite among kids for a long time.  From toddlers to teenagers, kids love the idea of being able control the motion of an object. But with so many RC toys available today, choosing the right one for your child can be overwhelming.

From gas powered to electric and hundreds of makes and models, perhaps the most important factor to consider is your child age.  RC toys can range from extremely complicated to relatively simple so taking your child’s abilities into consideration is important.  JM Cremps offers a great variety of quality RC toys for all ages, but our all time favorites are the Forces of Valor Remote Control Toy Tanks!

U.S. M1A1 Abrams Radio Controlled Tank (1:24 Scale)
U.S. M1A1 Abrams Radio Controlled Tank (1:24 Scale)

These highly detailed, realistic tanks take RC toys to a whole new level. Precise digital proportioning and independent tank track movement make them fun and easy to control.  Each tank features a combination of rotating turrets and elevating main guns, but the BEST part is their Battle Beam technology.

M26 Pershing Remote Control Tank
M26 Pershing Remote Control Tank

This super fun feature allows up to 6 Battle Beam tanks to challenge and conquer each other at once.  With the 27 MHz FM Band multi-player system you can fire upon other tanks and watch them shudder as they react to the damage. Realistic shot recoil, sound effects and working lights make combat with the enemy as exciting as possible.  So brush up on your tactics and study your battle techniques because it’s time for some serious armored combat.

Fall Leaf Carving Project – An Advanced Wood Whittling Project for Kids

Fall Leaf Wood Carving Project
Choose any leaf you like to use as your pattern to carve your own Fall Leaf.

Wood whittling projects are a popular and timeless activity that have been enjoyed by generations of boys, girls, and adults.  A good whittling project is a great way to get your adventurous boys away from their electronic devices.  Our original blog post on wood whittling covered the basics, and it featured a beginner’s wood whittling project.  If you’ve conquered the basics and are looking for something a little more advanced, then this Fall Leaf Carving Project should fit the bill.

Supplies Needed:
Whittling or Carving Knife
Thumb Guard (recomended for safety)
A carving block made of soft wood that is wide enough to fit your leaf
A real leaf

Step 1 –  Find a leaf that has a shape you really like.  Oak leaves, maple leaves, and birch leaves work well.

Step 2 –  Trace the leaf onto your carving block so that the grain of the wood runs straight up through the leaf from top to bottom.  (This will make it easier for you to carve.)

Step 3 –  Begin to whittle your leaf.  First whittle the basic shape of your leaf along the edges you traced.  (Remember to carve with the grain.)

Step 4 –  After you have the basic shape of your leaf carved, begin to round the edges and carve the top and bottom of your leaf.  You can carve it to be as thick or as thin as you want.

Step 5 –  After you have top and bottom rounded and trimmed to the thickness you want it to be, you can then carve in the details of your leaf.  Add the veins and lines that run through the leaf.  If you want, you can also carve the edges so that they look like they curl up.

Fall Leaf Wood Carving Project
Once you have the basic shape of your leaf done, you can finish it by carving in the details or painting it.

Finish your leaf –  At this point, you can do many things with your leaf.  You can carve your name into it, paint it, or varnish it.  Carve several leaves to decorate the Thanksgiving dinner table.   Drill a hole in your leaf and tie a string through it to make a personalized Christmas decoration.   Carved leaves like this make very nice personalized gifts for family and friends.

Tips –

If it has been a while since you’ve whittled or carved anything, then you may want to review the basics of wood whittling first.

When you are choosing a block of wood to use, try to pick one that isn’t too thick.  This way you won’t have to spend a lot of time carving it down to a manageable thickness.

If you are looking for other fun whittling projects for kids, then check out the Little Book of Whittling for some great ideas.

Duct Tape Creations – How to Make a Duct Tape Wallet

Duct Tape is more than just a useful tool for Dad.  It can be just the inspiration you need to create something really cool.  Creative people have used duct tape to make clothing, decorations, toys, and even games.  A favorite duct tape project amongst the JM Cremps kids is a duct tape wallet.  Duct tape wallets are real, working wallets, and they are the perfect duct tape project to get started with.

Duct tape wallets can be more than just a one-time project.  They are also a great business idea for a young entrepreneur.  Some of the kids in the JM Cremps team have made duct tape wallets and have sold them to their friends and classmates.  By being creative and adding designs, initials or school logos, our kids made some spending money and learned a valuable lesson at the same time.

Be as creative as you want with a wide variety of Duct Tape colors from JM Cremps.
Be as creative as you want with a wide variety of Duct Tape colors from JM Cremps.

Duct Tape Wallets require no special tools – just some scissors and whatever styles of duct tape you want to use.  JM Cremps carries a good assortment of color and patterned duct tape, so your wallet can be as fun and colorful as you want it to be.

Here is how to make a duct tape wallet.  (To see the completely animated, easy-to-follow version of these instructions, CLICK HERE.)

How to Make a Duct Tape Wallet
It is easy and fun to make a Duct Tape Wallet. Make a few extras and sell them to your friends and classmates.

1.     Cut a strip of duct tape 8.5 inches (22cm) in length and place it sticky-side up on a flat, stick-resistant surface. A cutting board or plastic craft board works well for this purpose.
2.     Cut a second piece of equal length and place it sticky-side down, covering half of the first piece lengthwise. The other half of this new piece will now be sticking to the flat surface.
3.     Fold the sticky part of the first strip down over the second.
4.     Flip the two strips over and place a third strip sticky-side down to cover the remaining sticky part of the second strip. Once again, the other half of this new piece will now be sticking to the flat surface.
5.     Continue flipping and extending the width of your duct-tape sheet until it measures at least 7 inches (18cm) from top to bottom not including the sticky edge.
6.     Fold the last sticky edge over and trim the edges so that the sheet is a rectangle of 7 by 8 inches (18 x 20cm). This will make your wallet approximately 3.5 inches (9cm) from top to bottom.
7.     Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise and tape the two sides closed to create a large pocket. Your crease should run in the same direction as the lines of the tape. This pocket is where you will place your bills.
8.     Fold your wallet in half. Run your fingers or a blunt edge over the crease to make it more defined.

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on Make a Duct Tape Wallet. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Fun Fourth of July Jokes

Fun Fourth of July Jokes
Salute the Fourth of July with family, fun, and some old fashioned humor.

The Fourth of July is a fun time for family celebrations, good food, great fun, parades, and fireworks.  It’s the high point of the summer, and family gatherings abound.  At JM Cremps, we’d like to wish you a Happy Fourth of July, and we hope your day is filled with fun, food, family, and the remembrance of what makes this day so special.

You probably already have most of your party planning done.  The fireworks are all set, the grill is ready to go, and the kids are already anxious for the parade.  We want to make sure you’re also ready to be the hit of the party with some fun and lighthearted Fourth of July jokes.  Tell them yourself or teach them to the kids.  Either way, you’re guaranteed to get a few chuckles.

Q: Did you hear the one about the Liberty Bell?
A: Yeah, it cracked me up.

Q: What’s red, white, blue and green?
A: A seasick Uncle Sam

Q: Why did the British cross the Atlantic?
A: To get to the other tide

Q: What did one flag say to the other flag?
A: Nothing, it just waved.

Q: Why did the duck say bang?
A: Because he was a firequacker

Q: What’s the difference between a duck and George Washington?
A: One has a bill on his face, and the other has his face on a bill

 Q: What was George Washington’s favorite tree?
A: The infantry

 Q: Do they have a 4th of July in England?
A: Of course they do. That’s how they get from the 3rd to the 5th.

 Q: What protest by a group of dogs happened in 1773?
A: The Boston Flea Party

 (joke sources:  examiner.com)

For other fun ideas to keep the kids occupied during your family gathering, check out our ideas on an Obstacle Course For Kids or for an extra fun challenge, check out the Boot Camp Obstacle Course for Kids.