3 Comments

Kid Project: 5-Minute DIY Fallen Leaf Wreath

We are having picture perfect fall weather here in Oregon right now. Knowing it will disappear all too soon, I’ve been encouraging the kids to play outside as much as possible. Today, after naps, we wandered the backyard admiring all the fallen leaves. We got our baskets and filled them with ones we liked – bright ones, dark ones, crinkled ones, big ones, little ones… we only have one deciduous tree in the backyard, so most are maple leaves unless they blew in from an adjacent yard. Then I tried to think of a project we could make with all of them… perhaps a wreath?

This is just about the quickest wreath project ever. I ran in to get my glue gun, and then remembered it was at a neighbor’s. She brought it over and then I looked around for something to use as the frame. This could be as simple as a piece of circle-cut cardboard, but what we used was the plastic ring from a pack of danishes that I bought from Costco. I used the glue gun to place wads of glue around the ring and Chloe and I would choose and stick leaves on top, being very careful of the hot glue (note to self: get a low temperature glue gun for these kinds of projects). For a consistent look I suggested we place all the leaves face up with the stem toward the inside of the circle. Leo was more interested in running leaves around in his tractor trailer, so he didn’t really participate except for leaf collecting.

Ta da! After just a couple of layers we had a festive wreath to hang near the front door. I think Daddy will be pleasantly surprised to see it there when he comes home this evening, don’t you?


Leave a comment

DIY Boys Totally Radical Rocket Ship Onesie :: Totally Tulip® Fabric Paints

DIY Boys Rocket Ship Onesie Tutorial

Note: This is a sponsored post. I was given paints to use for this project, but the idea, opinions and tutorial below are completely my own.

Do you remember using Tulip Soft and 3D Paints (aka “Puffy Paint”) back in the eighties? I was a kid back then and remember seeing it everywhere – jackets, shoes, school bags, and of course, t-shirts! It was one of those fun DIY projects that everyone could do, with good results almost every time.

Flash forward thirty years. Tulip has kindly given me the opportunity to re-live those moments using their products! My task: to update a shirt using the classic techniques from my childhood.

For this project, I thought that I would do something with Leo in mind, for a change. He loves things that go, especially trucks, construction vehicles and airplanes. Then, as I was starting to jot down ideas, a rocket ship came to mind, and I knew he would love it!

Here are the steps, including a printable stencil that you can download for free!

DIY Boys Totally Radical Rocket Ship Onesie

Supplies :
Onesie or T-shirt
Freezer Paper
Xacto knife or scissors
Iron
Foam Craft Brushes
Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint

1. Start with a clean onesie that has been washed and dried at least once.

2. Download the rocket ship image and print it out onto freezer paper (more on freezer paper stencils here). Carefully cut out the shaded areas with an xacto blade to make your stencil.

3. Position the stencil on your shirt where you would like it and then iron it down in place.

4. Place a piece of cardboard on the inside of your onesie (to keep paint from possibly bleeding through). Using your paint and foam craft brush, press the paint gently onto your fabric using a tapping motion until all areas are filled, changing colors as desired. Let dry for about 4 hours.

5. Once dry, gently peel the stencil off of the fabric. Now, outline your filled in areas. Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint has a fine applicator point perfect for this kind of work. Let that dry another 4 hours and your little one will be ready to blast off!

The onesie shown uses Tulip Soft Fabric Paint in Neon Orange, and Tulip Slick Dimensional Paint in Fluorescent Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Tulip continues to be a craft favorite in households today! In addition to Tulip Soft Paints and Dimensional Fabric paints included in my post, Tulip is known for it’s wide variety of Fashion Glitters, Glam it up Crystals, Fabric Markers and One-Step Tie Dye! Find all your favorite Tulip products by clicking here.

In fact, all this summer Tulip is bringing tie dye to the masses with their Tie Dye Your Summer campaign! Visit their Tie Dye Your Summer site at Tie Dye Your Summer. They have so many fun tie dye videos and inspirations as well as an awesome giveaway of a tie dye iPad and party (it really is an amazing prize pack that you’ll want to enter! Click here to enter this exclusive giveaway!

Find more I Love To Create project ideas, tutorials, videos and more on Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

See more Tulip Paint projects from other participating bloggers below:


Leave a comment

Leo’s 2nd Birthday – Circus Party!

Circus Birthday Party Table

Earlier this month we hosted Leo’s 2nd Birthday party at our house. We kept it small, yet festive, so as not to overwhelm the birthday boy. Luckily, the morning was sunny and perfect. We were able to throw open the french doors to the backyard and let kids and parents wander and play where they liked.

Circus Party Themed Plates and Napkins, Tablewarecircus party kids tent gigatent

sand table

I learned from Chloe’s 3rd birthday to not have too many activities planned, to let things flow a little more naturally. We had plenty of yard toys (sand and water table, beach balls, kiddie pool, push toys, bikes, etc) available, and plenty of seating for the grown-ups. Inside we set up the GigaTent Play Tent (that I bought last year for a steal on Craigslist!) along with more toys. Mostly it was open play, but toward the end we gathered everyone together for a circus-revised game of Bingo for both the kids and adults (original free download here), as well as Pin the Nose on the Clown that I got at the party store. I had grand plans of twisting up balloon animals (see my practice butterfly and poodle) and face-painting, but that never quite materialized. Turns out its hard to host a party and provide the entertainment at the same time!

Birthday boy cupcake

Circus Party Cupcakes

Overall it was a grand time. I was really surprised at how Leo sat and smiled at everyone while we sang him “Happy Birthday.” So cute! He wasn’t at all as overwhelmed as I thought he’d be. Looking back, it may be because we were at our home and not out somewhere else, or perhaps he just sensed that something special was afoot. Also, because of an attendee’s allergy, the vanilla cupcakes were egg-free (using this recipe), topped with cream cheese frosting. The only photo I have of the goody bags is this one. I was so proud of them, but forgot to take another photo!

circus masks

Pin the Nose on the Clown, Circus Party Game

One question I got a lot was about the canopy above the food table – it’s our Ikea Mysig Bed Canopy (only $10!) that I blogged about here. It fit perfectly over our Ikea sewing table -turned-food table.

One parent described our house as “IKEA fresh,” and I was really pleased to hear that. I do love me some Ikea, and why not, when everything is so budget-friendly and easily re-purposed in many ways?

 


4 Comments

Chloe & Leo’s Vintage Play Kitchen

kids vintage play kitchen

I’ve mentioned the kids’ play kitchen many times here on the blog. Because of that I thought I’d post some photos of  this special “toy” that’s provided countless hours of play and learning, and also as a record for my kids to look back on someday.

play kitchen, melissa and doug sweet treat towerPlenty of room for storage, which makes clean up easy (though never organized like this).
play kitchen, sink detailThe “sink” is cleverly made with a tupperware style plastic container

First of all, the play kitchen was a gift from David’s parents. I believe they had seen it at a colleague’s home and offered to buy it. Eventually it became theirs, and then later they drove it all the way out here (to Portland) from Colorado on the back of their pick-up. I don’t know much else about it, but even before it became ours, it looked very well-loved, yet still sturdy. It has a handmade quality to it, but may have been put together from a kit, for all I know. The previous owners passed down several pieces of play food and dinnerware. More pieces were added later, mostly as gifts (like that Melissa & Doug Sweet Treat Tower puzzle that the kids got for Easter, in lieu of candy). Once, after cleaning it all up for the umpteenth time, I decided to put half of it away, mostly the mis-matched odds and ends. They still played with it just as much.

play kitchen, side view Side view. It sits between the kitchen and the dining area.
play kitchen, stove and oven detailThe oven handle says “Hamilton MFG Co” and the stove dials are record player knobs.
play kitchen, nursery rhyme detail, there was an old woman who lived in a shoe...There are decals all over depicting scenes from nursery rhymes. This one is “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…”

To be completely honest, I remember David and I hesitating when we first saw it. It isn’t really how we see our “style,” and takes up a chunk of space. However, I admit that its play value has completely exceeded our expectations. I am so grateful now to my in-laws foresight. I have grown to love it as much as the kids, and now see it as charming and important part of their history, to be cherished and remembered.


2 Comments

A Healthy Abundance vs. Too Many Toys

Fisher Price Little People Toy Cars on a shelf

Abundance requires simplicity — because in order to have abundance in one area, you must reduce something else. You can either use your toy budget to buy a roomful of random toys or you can decide to focus on investing in only two or three open-ended toys: say, wooden blocks, a wooden dollhouse, LEGO.
— from Camp Creek Blog, Project Based Homeschooling

Yesterday, I read a post called Parenting with abundance and simplicity. The timing could not have been better. I had just spent hours organizing and sorting the kids toys that morning – a task always fraught with indecision, nostalgia and little hands trying to undo the progress I’m trying to make. I only have enough energy and motivation to do this every once in a while, so when I decide to do it, I make it count. Some things are perfectly clear, like how all the stuffed animals have a designated bin Chloe’s room, all the small junk toys (party favors, happy meal, or dollar store stuff) goes in a “travel” bin (since I don’t care if they get lost) and all play tools and most vehicles go in Leo’s room. This is not to say, for example, that Chloe doesn’t play with the trucks, it’s just that she almost never does, but she’s free to play with them whenever she wants.

One of the toys that has gotten the most cooperative play in our house from both kids is the play kitchen. You may have seen it in the background of other photographs because it is near the dining table and family room. The concept written in the Parenting with abundance and simplicity post clearly reflects what I’ve seen in the kids’ creative play: That because we have an “abundance” of play dishes and pots and foodstuffs, there is almost never a reason to fight over anything. They are content to play together. The kids have tea parties, pretend to make dinner, feed each other… it is a pleasure to watch. They get really involved and I can almost see their little brains at work while they concentrate on their self-directed tasks. It’s usually quite peaceful… until Leo decides it is more fun to throw plastic fruit across the room (or at each other). Or it’s time to clean up. Even then it’s fairly easy because its fine with me as long as everything generally makes it back into the cabinets.

The Abundance concept makes me realize something else… Chloe and Leo often fight over the blocks. We have four different types (duplo, classic wooden, mega blocs and a generic brand – not including Legos). I always thought it was cool that we had a variety, and rotate bringing them each down for play. But what if we had double of just one or two sets? Would the kids play longer and possibly collaboratively? Would Chloe complain because she is out of a certain color before she is finished implementing her idea? Would she stop trying to steal them away from her brother causing him to then knock down her structure in frustration? Also, now that I am thinking about it, Chloe usually says she’s ‘finished’ once she’s used up all the blocks. So what if there were a lot more blocks to use? Would she then spend twice as long and be twice as involved in her project as she currently is? For example, the photos in the previous post were taken when she was ‘all done’ – both times because she didn’t have anymore blocks left. Do you see my light bulb moment here?

This leads me to the other things they most often fight about. The biggest one, naturally, is the iPad. I’ve taken to putting Chloe’s Netflix shows on the regular TV (using the appleTV) and letting Leo have uninterrupted time with the iPad. Otherwise, it’s a pushing/pulling match with Chloe yelling and Leo pulling her hair. Another thing the kids have been fighting over lately is Leo’s new cozy coupe that his Aunt Katherine sent for his birthday. But there is no way we are fitting another one of those in the house, despite how much play it gets!

Anyway, this whole abundance thing really makes sense to me. Yes, kids should learn to share, but yes, providing an abundance of well-chosen open-ended toys also allows for meaningful benefits I hadn’t considered before. This is a parenting concept that sort of rocks my world.

 


1 Comment

Preschool & Toddler Activities

Chasing bubbles in the back yard

It is not even summer break, yet I already feel like I’m having a hard time keeping the kids busy. On one hand there’s the advice that says it is good for kids to be bored, because it forces them to be creative with the tools (or toys) they have access to. On the other hand, I’ve also read that boredom actually puts a lot of stress on a young brain, which science has shown to be unhealthy. All I know is when the kids are bored, they make this mama C.R.A.Z.Y.!

Since Leo’s second birthday is coming up in a couple weeks (and since my parents want me to buy Leo’s gifts for them), I have been happily researching some new games and activities I think would keep him occupied he would like. I’ve given him one gift a bit early, the Design and Drill Tool Kitby Educational Insights. He took to it like fish to water. Anything with pieces and moving parts is fascinating to him. It’s the smaller of the three sets, but I wanted to give it a try first. I’m poised to buy more bolts and an extra drill so his sister can join him. I love to have them working on a project together. The other sets come with pattern sheets that older kids can follow.

Speaking of patterns, Chloe is definitely aware of them in both shapes and colors. Here are a couple of her creations from just this past week. These were projects she designed completely on her own. All I got was a “Mom, come look what I made!” at the end. Plus, I’ve got to hand it to her, she takes Leo’s interference a lot better than I would if I was trying to concentrate on a creative project. I usually try to give them a little time to work it out (like with the colored plastic blocks), but if Leo cannot control himself from knocking down her buildings down over and over (like the wooden ones today), then I will remove him and give her some peace to work.

We also do a lot of arts-and-crafts type projects. Here was a project from yesterday, where the kids drew on popsicle sticks and I helped lash them together with tape (the classic “raft of popsicle sticks” project). It kept them both busy for a short time, and we did an “experiment” at the end to see if they would sink or float. However, Chloe was not happy to have the colors in her raft began to wash away. Whoops. I forgot that they were washable markers (the only kind I’ll let her brother near). By the way, Chloe told me that picture was of her and me that she drew on the sail.

And sometimes, I just throw my hands up in the air while saying “Whatever!” and go pull out something I’ve been saving – like these animal masks that I ordered for Leo’s upcoming party. Part of me wants the kids to be surprised, but part of me also knows that it wouldn’t hurt for them to get played with a little before the big day. It was surprisingly fun! We made silly faces in the bathroom mirror, trying on the different animals and finally I had to run and get my phone so I could take a couple pictures. This is the face of a child happily engaged in the activity she is doing at the moment. A photo worth a thousand words to this mommy!

 


Leave a comment

Let’s Roll! Morning Meal Idea for Little Hands On-the-Go

We have some busy mornings during the week in our household. Whether it’s preschool, scheduled activities, play dates, or just running errands, it is nice to have a go-to breakfast to feed the kids when we’re running low on time.

At ages one-and-a-half and four, my children are at the height of picky eating. When we are running behind, the best I can content them with is cereal or a breakfast bar. But when I have a few extra minutes to spare (or if I’ve planned ahead, which isn’t unheard of), then I’ll make them up a hand roll. They’re fresh, quick to make, and easy for little hands to hold (which means less mess in the car)!

Here’s my method:

  1. First, take a slice of bread with the crust cut off. Regular wheat or white works best, as heavily seeded breads don’t flatten very well.
  2. Flatten the bread with the heel of your hand. I usually put a second cutting board on top before pressing down which helps make the slices nice and flat. This probably sounds like an odd thing to do, but a big difference between a hand roll and a sandwich is that everything is contained inside the hand roll. If you give a toddler a traditional sandwich, then you’re likely to have bits of filling dripping out all over.
  3. Choose a spread or filling from whatever you happen to have on hand. It could be as simple as butter or strawberry jam, but most often I use two ingredients, like the one shown here which is ham and cream cheese on wheat. For step-by-step photos click here.

Optional: Fold a piece of paper towel and wrap it around the base of the roll. Seal the paper towel edge down with a piece of tape. Not only does this help keep the roll together, but it keeps little hands cleaner as well.

Here’s a list of other filling ideas:

cheese and butter
peanut butter and jelly
cream cheese and raisins
turkey and avocado
canned pumpkin and cranberries
hazelnut spread and bananas
ham and mayo
hummus

Now, I know what you may be asking: why not use a tortilla or pita instead of a flattened piece of bread? Well, you certainly could. Our toddler finds bread a lot easier to bite and chew, and the preschooler prefers the taste and texture of bread over tortillas. This way I just have to make one variety and they are both happy. Sometimes I even make one for myself while I’m at it.

Tip: If you’re using a less flexible filling like cheese or banana, then it helps to cut it into pencil-sized chunks. Place the thin chunk on one side and then roll it, which will put the cheese in the center. Otherwise the cheese will make the hand-roll too bulky and not close properly.

To even better balance the nutrition of a hand-roll breakfast, I like to include a side of fresh, travel-friendly fruit, like grapes, apple, orange segments, or banana, plus a sippy cup with milk or half water/half juice.

And there you have it – a healthy meal to fuel those little bodies that you love, even when you’re feeling rushed!

This post is part of BlogHer’s Rush Hour Tips editorial series, made possible by Got Milk?


1 Comment

Bike Trailer Adventures

Have I mentioned that we bought a bike trailer? Do you have one? Do you love it? I have been wanting one since last summer, made a few inquiries, scanned the “for sale” listings. We asked ourselves would we use it? How much should we spend? Where would we even store it? Then autumn came and we decided to wait and look into it again this summer.

One brand we kept seeing was InStep. The parents we talked to said it was a good deal for the price (also because it doesn’t come with the stroller attachment, which we decided we wouldn’t need), and we started looking again. Then David noticed the InStep Take 2 Double Bicycle Trailer went down to $68 on Amazon (score!). We decided to go for it!

We’ve now been on two bike rides with David pulling the trailer. Both times the kids LOVED it. Both times I was so happy to be back on my bike again. There was a time past that mountain biking and snowboarding were a big part of my life. Eventually, I left that life behind. Before Chloe came along, I would still occasionally ride with Barkley trotting beside me. After Chloe, well, it was just one of those pastimes that went by the wayside for a while.

We are going to have so many bike trailer adventures this summer, I just know it! Next on the agenda: to finally get these kids some helmets! Chloe has been making a push to learn to ride her own little bike  with training wheels. She is particularly motivated since our road is full of kids on bikes. Also, earlier this year I decided to buy a micro scooter for Leo (for his birthday, I told myself). I wanted to give him the chance to keep up with his sister and I figured that might be his best shot.

Bring on summer!!!

 


Leave a comment

Adorable Animal-Inspired Clothing for Kids

Brown Bear DressBrown Bear Girls Dress by Wild Things Dresses

I have seen some of the cutest little animal-inspired outfits and accessories lately. My kids would love them, I have no doubt. What kid wouldn’t? They are the perfect blend of daily-wear/play clothes and dress-up costume, all in one.

Here are a few of my favorites, including a neat DIY tutorial at the end for kitten flats that would be awesome for any age!

Fox Knit Scarf by Tre Melarance
Kids Fox Knit Scarf
Kids Fox Coat by Little Goodall
Kids Fox Coat Jacket
Girls Baby Mouse Dress by Wild Things Dresses
Gray Girls Mouse Dress Kids
DIY Cat Toe Shoes by Kate at Scathingly Brilliant
DIY Cat Kitten Painted Shoes

 


2 Comments

Birthday Gift Books for Preschoolers

   

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! Chloe had back-to-back preschool birthday parties, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, so it was definitely a fun-filled weekend for us!

Since we are still getting to know both of the birthday kids, I thought a good gift for each child would be a book + art supplies (my usual go-to gift). For this, as usual, I looked to my own kids for inspiration.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

For the birthday boy, who also has a little brother about Leo’s age, we chose Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. Leo is WAY into trucks right now, and this is a book that both my kids enjoy. It is a New York Times bestseller, and the perfect just-before-bedtime read. It is about a crew of construction vehicles that finish up their jobs for the day and then go to sleep. The rhyming is thoughtfully done and the illustrations are in a crayon-drawn style. With this gift we attached a pack of crayola glitter crayons. Here’s the animated book trailer for Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (did you even know there was such a thing?!):

 

Bridget’s Beret

To the birthday girl, we gave a copy of Bridget’s Beret. Chloe and I both like to read this one (versus some of the books that Chloe likes that I don’t really care for – at least not the twentieth, or one-hundredth time!). This is definitely a book that will grow with her, and continue to be interesting.

Bridget’s Beret is about a young artist named Bridget who likes to wear a black beret. When her beret gets caught in a breeze and sails away, she feels like her ability to draw is lost along with it. Only when her little sister begs her to paint a sign for their lemonade stand does Bridget realize there is more to her talent after all. Such fresh and colorful girly illustrations! With this book to the birthday girl we also added a watercolor set. You can download a free activity guide for Bridget’s Beret here.

Here’s the funny thing: I didn’t realize until I bought both gift books that they were illustrated by the same author/illustrator, Tom Lichtenheld! I guess I don’t usually pay much attention to childrens’ book authors. Now that I know we like his style, we’re testing out several others from the library. Another cute book we’re currently reading is called Cloudette. See Cloudette’s sweet animated book trailer here.

Happy reading!

Just for the record, this is not a paid review. I’ve never actually done one of those, although I would love to! These are truly just some books that my kids and I really, really like!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...