Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'll be shoe shopping tomorrow.....

I just saw this great coupon offer on another blog and I thought I would pass it on. It's awesome! It's 50% off everything at Payless Shoes. Check it out here to print off a coupon.


Boo sign craft

This is a Halloween craft that I did for myself. I used Mod Podge for the first time ever! I admit that I was a little scared at first because I didn't know what to expect, but now that I've done it, I'm hooked. If was so easy and I loved the result.

I made this Boo sign because it seemed really simple and I already had some of the supplies. I found the idea here. This is as far as I have gotten because I'm a little stuck.

The letters are just sitting on the plaques right now because I don't know how to attach them together. The blog doesn't say exactly how to do it. I'm guessing some sort of glue, but what kind? Wood glue, tacky glue? I also don't know what to put it on to hang it up. Does anyone have any ideas?


Soft Sugar Cookies

Last year I wanted to make sugar cookies for Halloween. When that didn't happen I said Christmas. That didn't happen either, probably because I just had a baby. My last attempt was Valentine's Day. Did it happen then? Um, no. So here we are to Halloween again and I finally made them! They aren't hard to make, just time consuming so I would always tell myself, oh I can't start them now, I don't have time to mix them up, roll and cut them out, bake them all and then frost and decorate them. This year I told myself If you want to do something, Just do it!

M&M and I made these cookies using this recipe: (from my sister-in-law)

Soft Sugar Cookies
1 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 (16 oz.) tub sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
8 c. flour (reserve 1 c. to work in as you roll out and knead a few times)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder

Cream shortening and sugar, beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in sour cream and add vanilla. Add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Roll as thin as you can. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. I didn't count them, but I would say that they make about 4 dozen.

M&M really liked using the spatula to scoop the cut cookies off of the counter.

These cookies are SO soft. They aren't too sugary tasting, but the frosting that you put on them will surely make up for that! I made them Monday and they are still soft.


Halloween sensory/I Spy tub

I saw a few of these Halloween sensory tubs on several blogs and I wanted to try it with M&M. I just used dried black beans, but you could also mix in some orange colored rice like this one. To give it just one more element of fun I threw in some orange, yellow, green and purple odds and ends to make it an I Spy tub as well. I took a picture of all the things I put in so that she could have a reference of what to look for.

I'd like to say that she had so much fun with the I Spy part, but I have to admit that it was like pulling teeth to get her to finish picking everything out. Once everything was out she had fun scooping the beans into the little pumpkins though. It might have to do with the fact that we are all pretty cranky around here from colds getting us down for about 5-6 days. M&M is actually feeling fine, but the rest of us have no energy and we just feel yucky. We have a few more Halloween activities yet to do.


Friday, October 23, 2009

More Halloween crafts

We are having a blast doing Halloween crafts. Here's some really fun and easy things that we have been doing.

Hand/footprint ghosts. Saw the idea here. M&M really liked doing this one because she got to put her hands and feet in the paint.

Torn paper candy corns. This idea came from here. M&M didn't want to do this one alone. I usually have to do the things I plan with her. It'll be nice when Bubba is old enough to do stuff with us because then M&M won't feel so 'alone' when doing stuff like this when mommy needs a few minutes to get other things done.

Aren't these yarn and pipe cleaner spiders so cute? I got the idea for these guys here. M&M liked playing with them after they were done.

Tissue ghosts. Idea from here. We hung them from our light over our kitchen table.

Yarn pumpkin. This one I did on my own, but older kids would have an easy time doing it. I found the idea here. They did apples, but I just used orange yarn instead for a pumpkin.

I don't know if you've noticed a trend with these. They are all fast, easy, and affordable using things you probably have around the house. That's my motto when it comes to kids crafts. Stay tuned for more kid's Halloween crafts and activities.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

Friday nights usually consist of pizza (either frozen, take-out or semi-homemade) and a movie as a family before the kids go to bed, but this past Friday I decided to make a slight change. I found a recipe for Stuffed Pizza Rolls. These were so easy and fun to make with M&M and they tasted really good as well. They are a great alternative to the other pizza choices out there. I'm feeling lazy so I am just going to link up to the recipe instead of typing it all out. Check it out here.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

A few Fall/Halloween activities

We've done a few activities in the last week or so, most of them have been Fall related and I thought I would share.

Well this first one isn't fall related, but M&M really enjoyed doing it. M&M often asks to play with the pennies in her piggy bank, but they are really dirty so I really didn't like her to. So we cleaned all of the coins in there. I got the idea from here. They use a mixture of water, salt and vinegar to "magically" make the pennies shinier. It's really cool to watch! M&M separated the pennies from the other coins using a spoon (her idea.) We just washed the other coins in a tub of soapy water.

Shiny pennies.

This paper plate 'leaf wreath' (say that 5 times fast) came from the idea here. I cut leaves out of red, orange, and yellow construction paper using a template I got online. I'm thinking of having M&M use some glitter glue to make it sparkle a little more.

Getting inspiration from here, we used cookie cutters to make Halloween shapes on paper. M&M had to use a different piece of paper for each one. I'm thinking about making a decoration out of these somehow, we'll see.

Today some cousins came over and we had a craft day. It was much needed because we haven't been able to play outside in a while. They painted pumpkins first. This is M&M's pumpkin. I don't know if you can tell, but she used a house cookie cutter to get the basic shape of a house and then painted windows on it.

They also made pasta skeletons. I found the idea here (scroll down). I loved how she put the fingers and toes on. There's also a Q-tip skeleton here. The pumpkin is one of those packaged foam crafts. Not homemade, but I think it would be easy enough to do with sticky back foam sheets cut out into the shapes you want, like I did with my felt pumpkin.

A side note: I am really impressed with M&M's handwriting ability. She can write the whole alphabet with me writing a few of them first so she can copy it. I'd like to say that I've spent countless hours working with her, but I haven't. I don't know what is average for a 3-year-old, not that it matters, but I'm just curious. Maybe it's just that she's my first child and I can't believe she's writing already! Can you find all of the letters on this page? :)
That's all for now, but there's more to come. I have a bunch of leaf activities that I've been wanting to do, but we haven't been able to go outside and gather them because it wouldn't STOP RAINING! It's going to be clear the next few days so we will head to the park and pick up some leaves and enjoy some wonderful fresh fall air. I can't wait.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Art area

I've had all of M&M's art supplies put up in a closet on high shelves because I didn't want her getting into the stuff and making a mess. I would just get out everything I needed for a project. After seeing all of these cool art areas on other blogs I decided that M&M is old enough to take responsibility and have some freedom.

In one corner our playroom is an art area. There is a table and chairs, of course. I don't care if she writes on the table or chairs. (You'll have to excuse the blinding whiteness of the walls. We moved into our house a year and a half ago, but are still working on getting all of the rooms painted.)

On the wall I've put hooks so that I can hang up little buckets. One bucket has crayons and another one has washable markers and colored pencils. The third one has a dry erase marker, eraser, tape, gluestick and safety scissors. (I saw the idea for the use of buckets somewhere, but it was one of those that I didn't save to Evernote so I don't remember where it came from. If it was you please leave a comment.)

The other wall has these Post-It Pockets on it. One with paper and the other with stickers that I've peeled the backing off of so that it's easier for her to get the stickers off. It came in a three pack and I've used the other one by my computer to put all of my lists in. Now I don't have papers all over the place. Okay, I still do, but they aren't lists!

We had this shelf from when we lived in an apartment so we put it up high to keep other stuff like beads, coloring books, etc. that I don't want Bubba getting into. He's pulling himself up on everything and it's driving me nuts! I've had to reconfigure everything in my house now. Oh well, he's cute so I'll keep him.

When we have cousins or friends over to play I take the buckets off and put them on the shelf so they can't reach them.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

I actually remembered to do a Favorite Photo Friday post today. I usually do it along with my Tot School posts, but since I'm not doing Tot School posts right now I forgot to do this one. I am probably the most forgetful person you know. Oh well, here it is.

This isn't a photo using a lot of photographic elements, but I really like it because it tells a story. This was October of last year. We went to the pumpkin patch and M&M had a wagon she was pulling around. Well the pumpkins got in the way so with all of her might she rolled them out of the way.

I can not believe that this was a year ago. This was during the beginning of my third trimester and I felt like, October, November and December lasted SO long! Now this year has gone by SO fast. My baby is almost 10 months old! Does it seem like time goes faster the older you get? It sure seems like it.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Projects Galore

I made a list of things that I want to make in the side column. This is mostly for my benefit. I like having a list of things in one place that I can refer to easily and what I want to see is just a click away.

I love scouring blogs and websites for cute, easy and for the most part cheap projects. The problem is most of these things require sewing and, well, I can't sew and I don't have a sewing machine. I have come up with solutions to both of these problems. My mom is coming next month, like I've mentioned before, and she is bringing her brand new sewing machine so that she can teach me how to sew. We will be working on Quiet books. My project for now is to cut everything out to get it ready to sew when she comes. I really want a sewing machine for Christmas. That would solve problem #2. We'll see if I get it. ;)

Here is a copy of the list on the sidebar:
Quiet Book here, here and here
Play Garden
Felt food here, here and here
Felt ribbon ball
Mail Center
Car Cozie
Crayon Roll
I Spy bag
Mini I Spy quilt
Table Playhouse
Camera Strap Cover
Decorative Balls
Gutter bookshelves

Maybe someone else will be inspired by these and be able to just whip them up quickly. These things are going to take me a long time to make. A few of them may happen in the coming months, but I'm sure it will take me years to do all of these.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Felt Jack-o-lantern

I have a bunch of felt that I've been stocking up on for a big project I will be doing with my mom next month. I decided to take a little bit of it and make a Halloween activity for M&M. I cut a pumpkin shape out of orange felt. Then I cut out different mouths, noses and eyes from black felt.
She can mix and match and make different faces on the pumpkin. At least that was the objective until I gave it to her, she made one face and then said, "Okay, that's what a pumpkin looks like" and was finished. *sigh*

(The eyes are on the left side, the noses on the bottom and the mouths on the right.)


Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Prints and painting tips

Even though I won't be doing Tot School posts right now I will still post about the fun activities that we do.

Today we tried apple prints. I've seen this activity all over blogworld. M&M was very intrigued by the idea of painting with apples. We used red and green paint and stamped away. When we do an activity like this I usually have to do one of my own because M&M will always want me to do hers. This way she will do her own project. It was a short, but successful activity.

There are a couple of things that have made painting projects with M&M go more smoothly. I put down a plastic tablecloth underneath the project instead of using newspaper. This helps the sliding factor and covers the whole table instead of a small part. I also use plastic formula can lids to put the paint on. The paint comes off very easily. Both of these things are reusable. I've been inspired by all of the blogger moms out there that are trying to reuse and recycle.



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