Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving: Free Printable!
Hi all!  This is Dagny's sister, Emmy, and I'm here to join the party!  I also happen to live and play in a two-bedroom apartment with my three kids.  Luckily we live in Southern California, so we get lots of great outdoor time.

Living and playing in two bedrooms (or fewer) means that storage options can  Which means that ALL of my holiday decorations have to fit in two Rubbermaid bins.  So to keep things festive and flat-packed, I rely on lots of paper decorations!  It's lots of fun to create lots of these with my kids, but printables (in easy-to-change frames) are also great to dress the walls up a bit.

My goal over the next few weeks is to show off some of the paper decorations we've made, but in the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!  (Go ahead and click on it to make it full size, then save or copy it into whatever program you like to print out for your own personal use.  Enjoy!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Thomas Costume

I'm feeling super proud of this home made Thomas costume, so I thought I'd share. I bought a $4 zip up sweatshirt and sewed on some felt shapes and #1's. The smokestack is made of felt and cotton and it made my little boy so happy he almost exploded. I'm planning on sewing some wheels on his pants and calling it good. What do you think?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!

Have you ever read this book?
It is so cute. You should probably go check it out at the library right now. It is a favorite at our house. It's about a little boy who, after promising never to paint again, goes on to paint himself from head to toe. To make it even more fun you can sing the words in the book to the tune of 'It ain't gonna rain no more'. 

It was the feature book at a special story-time we have in our library where each child gets to take home a copy of the book. My kids often request to hear this book and today when they pulled it out of the bookshelf, I had an idea.

I took a picture of each of them standing in front of a white wall. I printed the picture out in black and white.

I taped the picture to the kids' easel, and let them paint themselves from head to toe. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Leaf Magnets

My kids love collected things outside. They usually come home from the park with several rocks in their pockets and a whole bunch of sticks and pine-cones in my bag. I'm not sure how they sneak all of that nature in my bag, but somehow I'm constantly reaching in and discovering some kind of flora when all I really want to get is my wallet or a diaper. The other day I gave them the job of collecting leaves around our neighborhood. It's still a little early in the year for colorful leaves, but we did find a few that had already changed. We took them home, laminated them, and then hot-glued some magnets to the back. I stuck the leaves to our dishwasher (since our refrigerator is already full of letter magnets) and they were a hit right away. It's been a fun thing for the kids to play with while I make dinner.

Playing Cars, For Real

My son is obsessed with anything with wheels. Thomas, Lightning McQueen, the backhoe from "I'm Dirty" and the garbage truck in "I Stink" (books by Kate and Jim McMullen), and any other thing that rolls, honks, or beeps. He even goes to bed each night with a garbage truck named Garbee. When he wakes up he carries it around all day wrapped in a baby blanket. He even feeds Garbee with a baby bottle.

I decided to feed off this obsession and take my kids to an overpass. Not far from us there is a big giant overpass over the freeway that connects the light rail station one one side to a parking lot on the other. Not only did we get to watch cars, trucks, buses, and even the occasional boat on a trailer, but we also go to watch the light rail trains come and go. I kind of expected this outing to last maybe twenty minute or so (I mean, how long can you watch cars go by really) but we ended up staying about an hour. I'm glad a brought a snack along!

Sweet Apples

It was Apple Week at our hour this last week. We did a lot of fun different apple activities. Here are a few of them.

My favorite thing we did all week was an apple tree collage. I cut out the apples and the leaves and my daughter cut up the bark. It was great cutting practice and very relaxing for both of us.

I took a piece of poster board with an outline of a tree and taped it to the window. My plan was to cover in with contact paper, but I was fresh out, so I just used a whole bunch of strips of packing tape layered up against each other. It made the perfect sticky surface and was only slightly more work than contact paper.  

My son was very excited about the apples (I used all sorts of paper, glitter paper, holographic paper, and other craft paper), but that's about where his interest ended. My daughter continued on sticking on leaves and bark, but lost interest when she got to this point:

I thought it looked pretty the way it was, but I decided to leave out the materials for several more days. I'm glad I did because after a week, this is what it looked like. I did end up helping with the trunk because my daughter asked me to, but the rest was mostly her doing, with a little help from her brother. She made me laugh because she was bothered by the apples and bark my son put on the side of the tree. She ripped them off and put them in a more 'appropriate' place.

For an outing we took a trip to the grocery store to pick out several different kinds of apples. My daughter washed them.

My son sorted them.

We all tasted them (and appreciated the stars in the middle). Unfortunately the one we liked the best had already lost its sticker, so I'm not sure what kind it was, but it was delicious!

Painting an apple tree was much more appealing to my son than the collage. That boy sure loves to paint!

I also found a bunch of apple printables on Pinterest. There are all sorts of wonderful packets if you search long enough. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Splish Splash

My kids begged me to go out on the porch in the rain. I couldn't resist their sweet pleas. I figured that while they were out there, they might as well get really wet, so I sent them out with bowls and cups and bottles filled with water to pour, stir, and dump. To say the least, a good time was had by all.

Paint Date

I feel pretty lucky that I have a garage. For the last 5 1/2 years of my life I have resided in a two bedroom apartment/house/townhouse/apartment/townhouse, in that order. For some reason we just can't shake the two bedroom thing. I really can't complain too much because 1. I only have two kids. My sister has three kids in a two bedroom, so I do realize we could be much more cramped than we currently are. 2. We have a two car garage and only one garage door opener, which means my husband parks in the driveway and I use the other half of the garage for arts and crafts and toys. The other day we had a paint and playdough play date in our garage. It was so much fun. The kids painted and painted and painted. I opted for a group mural as opposed to individual painting, and I was really pleased with the outcome.

If you notice, I wrote "Please keep paint over here!" on the top of the paper, and then later remembered that everyone involved in the painted was under 5. Oh well. At least the moms knew where to keep the paint.

Marshmallow Dough

I found this recipe on It makes fluffy smooth play dough. It dries out pretty quickly, this is definitely a one time use dough, but it's fun while it lasts. By the way, do you want to know my favorite play dough tool? Scissors. Paper and scissors don't always mix with those chubby little two year old hands because it requires just a little too much coordination. Play dough, however, is easy to cut even when you hold your scissors by the thumbs of both hands.

Marshmallow Dough 

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or other high temperature tolerant oil)
  • 1 one pound bag of large marshmallows
  • 3 – 4 cups of cornstarch
  • food coloring
Over medium heat, melt coconut oil in a pot.  Once liquid, add the entire bag of marshmallows.  Stir frequently until marshmallows are completely melted.
Working quickly, divide the marshmallow mixture into four bowls (approximately 1 cup per bowl) and stir in 3 drops of liquid food colouring into each.  Add 3/4 of a cup of cornstarch to each bowl to start.  Using a spoon, stir vigorously until marshmallow goo and cornstarch begin to come together.  Use your hands to knead in the extra cornflour once the dough is cool enough to handle.  If needed, add an extra 1/4 of cornstarch to each bowl to firm up the dough, however, be careful not to add too much as the dough will become overly hard.

Sour Grapes

We've been exploring different tastes lately. When it was time to try something sour, I found a really fun recipe to try. Sour grapes. You may have already seen it on Pinterest (if you are as addicted to Pinterest as I am). They are also known as sour patch grapes. It's a super easy recipe, which means it's great for kids to make. All you need are grapes (obviously) and jello mix, we picked lime. All you do is dump out the jello mix in a bowl and then stir in some recently washed, slightly damp grapes. 

I made my kids do every step of this process, included pick the grapes off the stem. It's recommended to put the grapes in the fridge and let them sit for a bit, but there were some sneaky hands that just couldn't wait. I didn't snap any pictures of the cooking process, but I did get an after shot of the sour tongues. Can you tell which tongue ate more?

Raining Cats and Dogs

Each day this week we talked about a different animal and had a snack to go with that animal. On doggy day, we made dog bones out of pretzel dough. On kitty day, the kids were ecstatic because I let them lap milk from a bowl.

On bird day we tried sunflower seeds. My little guy refused to try them. His logic was pretty sound. He said, "I'm not a bird. I'm not eating that." My daughter on the other hand dug right in and even asked for seconds.

We did an animal sort of Farm animals and Zoo animals. For some reason, blogger thinks that this picture looks better sideways because it refuses to let me put it on any other way.

We also did an animal sort of all the 'animals' at our house. Turns out we have more bears and elephants than anything else. How did we end up with so many stuffed elephants?

We also took all the plastic animals out to play in the rain. It seemed a little Noah's Arkish to me. Fortunately, it didn't flood.

We had some other fun activities, including a trip to the zoo where we acquired another toy elephant. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Marshmallow Mouth Math

This was such an easy activity to set up, but it was really fun to play. I cut out a mouth shape for all three of us, drew some circles where the teeth should go, and printed off a dice pattern. I figured out that if you just type 'dice printable' into Google, you'll find several options. I chose to stick to numbers 0-3 because my little guy is still working with basic counting. Surprisingly, no one every rolled a 0. I wonder what the odds of that are. I'm sure I could figure it out, but I'll save that math lesson for when they get a little bit older. Anyway, we each took turns rolling the dice, and whatever number came up, we glued that many marshmallows on our 'mouths'. Both kids were dying to sneak a few marshmallows, but I told them they had to fill up their whole mouth first, and then they could keep rolling for marshmallows for their real mouth. That made it all the more thrilling when they finally filled up their whole mouth.

I didn't snap any pictures of the mouths folded, but we all three got the giggles chomping our mouths and shouting, "om nom nom nom nom!". 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Train Accessories

My kids (both the boy AND the girl) love, love, LOVE trains. They could play trains for hours almost every single day. Half of our trains are Thomas trains. They were mostly gifts. The other half are from IKEA.  When we first started investing in trains I had no idea how expensive all of the accessories were. To get the set up they have in the kids' section of Barnes and Noble, including the table, I think your looking at several hundred bucks (or more). I know you can get them on Craigslist or other similar places, but in the mean time, we found a pretty good solution: cardboard tunnels.
I love what cereal boxes can become!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hello Again!

Hello Blogging world. It's been a while, I know. Between getting my tonsils out in February and moving from Colorado to Arizona last week, blogging has fallen to the back burner as of late. Here are some older pictures of some craft projects:
1. Laminated magnets
 Last year for my birthday I bought I laminating machine from Costco. It was the best birthday present I have ever given myself. I think it was only 20 or 30 bucks, and I love it. I have used it many times, but one of my favorite projects was to make magnets for our fridge. My daughter picked out a princess magazine from the library and found these pictures. We photocopied them, laminated them, and stuck a magnet on the back of each one. I pulled these out when it was time to make dinner and they were a life saver! It was a fun way for her to be in the kitchen with me, but not so bored that she made a mess.
 2. Storybook puppets
I just developed a love of felt. This is the project that helped me realize that. I didn't use a pattern, just randomly cut out shapes and then sewed them together. I was really pleased with the outcome. The animals are finger puppets, but my daughter discovered they work best with a spoon inside since her fingers are still pretty small.
 3. Letters
We finally finished our door full of letters. Here's a picture with *most* of them. A few of the lower letters got ripped off by curious little hands.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy Birthday

Play-dough+baby food pouch lids+birthday candles=just about the best birthday cake I've every seen!