Monday, June 29, 2009

Make Your Own Water Table

What is it with kids and water?
My girls love to make a splash!!

Whenever they're fussy (no matter what season),
I say, "time for some water!"

It can be in the form of a sprinkler, the wading pool,
a slip-n-slide in the backyard,
the kitchen sink full of soapy water,
sand and water table on the deck,
a hot bath, or a shower with mom...

On cold winter days,
I've even set up an under-bed storage box full of water
(and a mini wading pool once!) inside the house
as a temporary water table.

My kids saw the fancy new water tables
at the toy store and you can imagine their reaction...
I thought to myself, hey I can make that!

So here you have it,
our home-made water table.
Four plastic milk crates + our mini wading pool =
tons of fun for two little girls
and one happy mama.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Homemade Gift: Nature Explorer Set

The Frog Princess' friend, Andrew,
celebrated his 6th birthday this weekend.
We thought he needed a
Nature Explorer Set
to play with this summer!

We got him a Terracycle recycled wrapper backpack
and filled it with lots of home-made goodies:

We made him a personalized backyard field guide
with pictures and information
about local birds, butterflies, and leaves
in a simple three ring binder.

A nature journal to record his observations, outings, leaf rubbings, etc.

Two recycled plastic jars
(with small holes in the lids)
for collecting and observing bugs and critters
(I heard from his mom he caught and released fireflies in the big jar!)

A home-made
leaf and flower press

Make your own with
layers of newsprint and cardboard
fastened with rubber bands!

A small "collection" box for fossils (see below)
(original purpose - bead sorter from the craft store)

We also included two of our favorite Toys R' Us finds:
a set of Discovery Store Bug Marbles
and a Discovery Store Fossil Collection.

And finally...
one of my favorite re-purposed
frozen mini-quiche trays
for sorting rock collections, etc.

Why don't you
make a nature explorer set
for your own little explorer?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Big Brother Gift

One of my closest friends had her second baby boy
two weeks ago.
The girls and I decided her firstborn,
needed his own big brother baby care set.

We picked up a boy baby doll
with two sets of boy clothes,
I can sew a straight line...
but I wasn't about to attempt making baby doll clothing.

Then, I personalized a craft store canvas bag with
a flannel monogram.
Inside the bag, we added:
two of those disappearing juice/milk bottles,
a food dish and spoon,
a home-made flannel baby doll-sized blanket,
and a small home-made felt baby shapes book
(so he can "read" to his baby).

We scored a red and gray doll stroller
at our neighborhood garage sale for $1 -- Woo-Hoo!
(The same sale where I scored the Cozy Coupe)
It had a ripped seat that I was able to mend
with some gray thread and less than ten minutes of hand sewing.

New baby flannel blanket, and matching
baby doll blanket for Big Brother "F"

I made a matching big flannel blanket/floor mat
for the new baby with the same fabric.

Both boys got books
because I'm a book junkie
my favorite gifts to give/receive are books.
Big Brother F got "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom"
and Baby Brother C got "On the Day You Were Born"

My girls checking out their
newest playmate.

Welcome to the world little man!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kindergarten Rocks: Last Day of School Teacher Gifts

Two Tiny Pandas for Two Very Beloved Teachers...

Today is the Frog Princess' last day of Kindergarten.
Where has the year gone?
I feel like I just sat down to type my first post
for this blog
(on her first day of Kindergarten)

My sweet little Big girls waiting at the bus stop today...

We whipped up a couple of home made gifts
for her two classroom teachers and
her three(!) bus drivers
(one AM driver, a different PM driver, and an assistant)

Her school mascot is the Panda.
They have a special award called
a "Panda Paw" for doing good deeds.
So, she wanted to make
rock panda paper weights
holding mini panda paws
for each of her teachers.
She's so crafty!!
We saw them as a Martha Stewart craft once,

All we needed were:
some rocks from the backyard,
acrylic craft paint,
and we bit of super glue.

She also made these
"Rockin' School Bus"
(I Heart Them!)


Because I volunteered
in their classroom this year,
the teachers and students
made me this super cute
hand print bag.

Isn't it adorable!!
I'll have the cutest groceries
in the store, when I roll out
with this little bag in my cart!

Hooray for gifts made with love!
AND... wonderful, caring
bus drivers

We mommies wouldn't make it without you!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

* DIY Felt and Fabric Tooth Fairy Pillow

We have incurred some big losses around our house recently...
Don't worry, they're all good.
The Frog Princess lost her first tooth over the weekend!

In anticipation of the big event,
I made these tooth fairy pillows
for the girls to hang on their bedroom door knobs.

Like a big, smooshy do not disturb sign,
but instead it's a big
"just leave money" sign.
So much easier than trying to hide things under
a sleeping child's pillow!

I made matching pillows for both girls even though
Mini-Saurus is about 4 years away from actually needing one!
I didn't want to have to re-make one down the road
and...she always wants whatever her big sister has!

She just lost the other one!!
This tooth fairy is going to be very busy this summer!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kid's Craft: Recycled Milk Jug Basket Mother's Day Gift

The Frog Princess made this fantastic basket for me for Mother's Day this year.

Her kindergarten class made them, with their wonderful teachers
(whom I adore and will miss terribly in a few short days!)

They cut the top off a 1 gallon plastic milk jug.
Then they decoupaged tissue paper squares with a water and Elmer's School glue mixture.
When they were dry, the kids laced beads and silk flowers onto pipe cleaners
and added them as handles.

I love my new up-cycled basket so much.
I think we're going to have to make a bunch of them this summer!

Now I'm debating what to keep in it...
I'm thinking my small baby washcloths that are a kitchen staple around here
for wiping spills and sticky faces + hands.
This basket is much more artsy and green than the store-bought variety.

Go ahead and make one, you know you want to!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pimp My Ride -- Cozy Coupe Toddler Car Makeover

I had too much fun this weekend.
Our neighborhood had it's
big garage sale
and I scored this Cozy Coupe car as a gift
for one of my closest friends
for $5 !!

"My Made-Over Kid Car in all it's glory..."

Here's how cool she is,
before she was a mom,
she was the lead singer in a rock band.

She really is a Rock Star!

Court's having her second baby boy this week,
and I couldn't just give them
the new big brother mobile
the way it was...
come on people, it was practically
So I picked up some handy-dandy spray paint....

Faded Cozy Coupe...after I scrubbed off A LOT of dirt and sand crud.

First the girls helped me clean it up
and I painted it black.

Re-painted car in black.

Then, I taped off some "flames" on the doors,
and used orange and yellow flourescent paint.

Hooray for Blue Painter's Tape!!

I channeled my inner-graffiti artist.
Then I added head lights and tail lights.

The car before I added head lights and tail lights.

It's so cool, now I want to
spray paint my minivan!

I've started a mommy makeover revolution!
My neighbor, Holly, called me this AM before I finished my
morning coffee to get detailed directions
while her kids were scrubbing their old car,
to prep it for it's spray-tastic makeover!!

And check out Teach Mama's awesome new ride!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fun On the Farm Finale: Trip to the Farm

Yummy Food from the Farmer's Market!

Last week,
The Frog Princess and her class had
a fantastic time visiting the farm.
Mini-Saurus and I tagged along,
it was a beautiful day!

The farmer's market was up and running.
We couldn't leave without some
yummy local grown goodies!

They went on an animal scavenger hunt.
They learned about
how cows and goats produce milk,
petted a 6 week old baby goat,
and milked a big wooden cow.

The Frog Princess is a natural
when it came to milking,
it must be those Iowa dairy farmer genes
from her Great Grandpa!

Mini-Saurus asked me to take her picture with the big cows.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fun On the Farm Part 2: Farm Felt Board

I made this farm felt board set
for the Frog Princess' Kindergarten class
to play with before their
big trip to the farm.

It has been quite popular.
I may have to make them some more sets.

I hand-stitched the stems
and details (instead of using glue)
so they would be more durable
for classroom play.
I just draw the critters with a sharpie,
before I cut out the felt.

The Frog Princess' Kindergarten
teacher was thrilled when I gave it to her.

Some students enjoying the
new farm felt board center!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fun On the Farm Part 1: Farm Sensory Box

We've been doing some fun barnyard activities
around the house in anticipation of
the Frog Princess' Kindergarten field trip to the farm.

We started out by converting our "Construction Zone" box
to a Farm Sensory Box.

I removed the construction equipment and added our
mini barn, some fences, farm animals and crops.
Frog Princess has been having great fun
arranging the animals and doing her "farm chores"
except that Mini-Saurus
(true to her moniker and status as the little sister)
keeps coming in and destroying everything.

My good friend, the Frog Princess' Kindergarten teacher,
made her own farm box with dry pop corn kernels
as one of the classroom centers.

I wish I had dry feed corn to fill our box with...
if only I lived closer to a real farm!!
A girl can dream.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kid's Crafts: Yarn Nests with Pom-Pom Birds

Another rainy day project.
We have been enjoying the mama birds in our yard
with their noisy nestlings and all-day worm feeding marathons.

We decided to make our own
nests and baby birds
to celebrate spring!

You can find detailed directions
for this craft at Family Fun if you click here.

First we pre-made the nests with
yarn and watered-down elmer's glue.
You have to do this a day or two ahead of time.

(Note: You can use liquid startch
but the yarn soaks so much up
that it's hard to get it to dry and stick!)

The birdies are just made
with two pom-poms each,
tiny beads for eyes, felt beaks and feathers.

Both girls could do this project!
Mini-Saurus needed help but
really liked using the glue!

We added bits
of silk leaves and flower petals
for a bit of "fancy" and we had our sweet
little nests ready to go!!

Tweet tweet!

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