Thursday, October 30, 2008

Haunted Village In a Box - Halloween Diorama

My sweet aunt in Colorado sent the girls and me a wonderful surprise care package earlier this week filled with fun Halloween craft supplies. I can't explain what a perfect gift this is for our family. The Frog Princess and I love to create and craft in my art studio and Mini-Saurus is following right behind us with complete enthusiasm for all things crafty and messy!

We built these mini haunted houses after school today and the Frog Princess immediately decided we needed to build a diorama ("like your Peeps, Mom!") So we went to work. Rome wasn't built in a day, but our little haunted village only took an hour and it sure is cute. The Frog Princess drew the trees and street light, added her assorted spooky foam stickers, and is so proud of her little creation. She went to bed tonight brainstorming how to make mini trick-or-treaters to populate our tiny town. I see a pattern in our future of holiday-themed dioramas.

Happy Haunting!

Halloween Costume Greatest Hits Parade

So today, instead of writing a "real"post, I'm sharing photos of my little darlings in their past (and present) Halloween ensembles. The Frog Princess has been a Halloween Kitty, a Sheep (home-made by me), a Robot (home-made), a Washing Machine (home-made), a purple Care Bear (store bought - I was too pregnant to sew), Princess Fiona from Shrek 2 (store bought - I had a baby to chase), and this year -- Malificent from Sleeping Beauty (combo of home-made and store bought elements). Mini-Saurus debuted last year as Snow White and will be a Care Bear (or a sheep depending on the temperature) Friday night it sure is nice to recycle those costumes!

Looking forward to Trick-or-Treating with them both tomorrow.

Wishing you all Happy Haunting with your own little ones!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Clutter Buster: Catalog Those Magazine Clippings

I am a self-professed magazine addict. It's really out of control but I do read all of them, every month. As a green mama this probably isn't the most green habit either. I realize that and have extreme guilt about it -- but I do recycle them.

When my husband and I were newlyweds he would be exasperated by my pile of magazines in our tiny condo mailbox every month but he was impressed that I read them all so he kept his mouth shut after that. I'm some sort of freaky magazine Rain woMan savant. I absorb random facts, crafts, decorating ideas, recipes and parenting tips from them and can remember stuff I read or saw 10 years ago. Wish I could have done that with something useful in school, like my chemistry or geometry textbooks, but they weren't interesting enough. If Martha Stewart, Family Fun, and Better Homes and Gardens had found a way to present my school work as home decor and craft ideas I would have had a much higher GPA. I aced Art, Photography and Clothing. [Editor's Note: these are the 3 classes I actually use to this day]

I clip out whatever I think I might want to reference later and recycle or pass along the rest of the magazine every month so I don't have shelves full of magazines. I do have one designated shelf for my magazine habit in our guest room. I have binders (with page protectors inside of them) that I file all of my fabulous inspiration into by category. This way I can easily grab a book of ideas whenever I'm working on a holiday project, planning a birthday party, or looking for the perfect organizing tip. Some of my categories include: "Home Projects: So Very Martha", "Halloween", "Birthday Party Ideas", "Parenting", "Winter", "Christmas", "Summer Entertaining", "Cute Craft Ideas", etc.

In case you're curious, here is my list of (14) magazines I have current subscriptions to:

Better Homes and Gardens
Southern Living
Family Fun
Wonder Time
"O" Oprah
Consumer Reports
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Ladies' Home Journal
Woman's Day
Everyday Food
LadyBug (that one is the Frog Princess' subscription)

I also steal my mom's leftover Martha Stewart and Family Circle magazines. You know, in case I run out of stuff to read... really is out of control.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cootie Catchers -- Cheap and Easy (Craft Project... Not Me!)

We celebrate half-birthdays for the under-thirty half of our family. When the Frog Princess officially turned 5 and-a-half last month, we celebrated with half a birthday cake (just bake in a round pan and cut it in half, throw in a layer of frosting or jam and stack them -- you've got half a cake) and a small present. Last year it was $4 to spend as she wished at the Dollar Tree. This year it was a set of home-made Cootie Catchers. Remember these from school? So fun, so retro, and a great entertainment at the dinner table for many nights to follow.

For directions on how to make your own cootie catcher (if your middle-aged brain has forgotten) visit Mom's MiniVan or Squigly's Arts and Crafts. We made one with silly fortunes ("You will make a new friend tomorrow", "Something mysterious is about to happen", "The Cat knows the answer"...) and one with answers to any Yes or No question (like a Magic eight ball - "Definitely","Maybe","Yes","No","Hopefully"...) Then we moved on to printing a couple off of the internet and playing with them as well (check out the PBS kids Arthur site). They were a huge hit and great practice for my Kindergartner's spelling (y-e-l-l-o-w) and counting.

I love it when I can keep my kids busy, entertained, and having fun while learning and all for the cost of a few sheets of paper and some markers we already had on hand. The Frog Princess said it was her favorite half birthday present yet! These would make fabulous stocking stuffers as well! Imagine if we all went back to simpler and greener gift ideas like this for our kids instead of all of the commercialized, made overseas, painted with questionable paint plastic trash. I wonder if I could get away with handing out these for halloween instead of candy? Hmmm.....

Image courtesy of the Daring Book for Girls.


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