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.