Saturday Morning: Random Idea

My daughter, Lulu, loves wearing necklaces. Especially her Cinderella flashing necklace and a cute silver Southwestern designed necklace her Daddy brought back from a business trip. It came in a miniature pink Cowboy Hat -- what little girl wouldn't love it! I of course did not like her wearing necklaces fearing she would strangle herself. The solution...Magnetic Clasps sold at drugstores and advertised to no end on TV. They are marketed to the elderly but work AMAZINGLY for a 3.5 year old. She now can put on and take off her necklace as frequently as she changes her outfits...which is a lot. I have a future fashionista on my hands! At close to $10 a box they seem expensive but 4 come in a box. For me it was worth it because I don't worry so much now. There are plenty of other things to worry about, right!

Easy, Fast & Healthy Last Minute Meal

Homemade Hummus - garbanzo beans/chick peas, drizzle of olive oil & pinch of salt in food processor -- no tahini due to allergies
Couscous - follow box instructions
Carrots - microwave Steam Fresh (girls don't like crunchy carrots)
Whole Wheat Pita Bread - warmed and cut into wedges
Salad - with whatever we have on hand (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, hard boiled eggs, olives, feta...)

The girls love this for dinner! It takes less than 20 minutes to pull together and it is really healthy. Thought I'd share one of our favorite last minute meals. I always have several cans of garbanzo beans in stock for this purpose!

What to do with your child's art work?

For awhile, Lulu, loved gluing small squares of tissue onto paper (and then of course pouring glitter on top!) I had stacks of her tissue/glitter collages. After we made all the cards our relatives could stand I moved on to this idea.

I decided to cut them out into basic animal shapes. I think they look very cute plus they are a great way to dress up the playroom. You can of course use a painting or any other mixed media collage as your base. I added the letter just to reinforce the alphabet you of course do not have to. I think different types of dinosaurs, fish, bugs, or flowers would look cute. I included the elephant template to get you started. Print, cut out, trace onto back of child's artwork and cut out, fold ear and glue onto elephant. Click on picture below for template.

I have to apologize, I am not computer savvy. I can not get this elephant to print any bigger than 3/4 of the page. If anyone knows how I should be saving this file let me know. I am saving it "for the web" from Illustrator as a GIF file. *** Thanks to Clemencia at Storytime and More for fixing the elephant template!!!

Sisterhood Award

I am so pleased to have received the Sisterhood Award from Katie at Katie's Nesting Spot. A fellow Adult Adoptee and Crafty Mama we already share so much in common. In the few emails we've exchanged I can tell I have found a true Seoul Sister in Katie. Being a fairly new blog it is nice to get linked from Katie's very popular blog, so thanks Katie!

The rules of this award are:
  1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
  2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to this post and to the perLinkson from whom you received your award.
As I am new to the world of Blogging I don't have 10 blogs I can link to. Here are my favorite that inspire me daily. All of this blogs represent amazing do-it-all moms who are creative and positive. All of these women show amazing attitude and gratitude!

Ordinary Life Magic
Chasing Cheerios
Plum Pudding
The Wonder Years
Bugs and Fishes by Lupin

Tuesday: Random Ideas

We found that Pharmacists do not put the refill/info sticker directly onto some prescription containers (mainly due to the size or shape constraints.) When you have more than one child and a terrible memory this is a problem. I discovered that Paper Tape solves this problem. It is semi transparent so you can see info underneath but it takes a permanent marker beautifully. I put the child's name and the dosing instruction on the tape.

When yogurt companies stopped putting the lid on top of the yogurts I started saving them. A year later I can't find a single one. I think our dishwasher is eating them. Well I discovered that the small Gladware top fits perfectly. It is a time saver. I know I am lazy and could easily put the yogurt into another container but if this saves a step...

**Allergy Tip: I have tried almost every type of egg replacement solution, applesauce, commercial egg replacer, oil, baking soda... I finally tried plain soy yogurt. It works beautifully for baked goods. It gives baked goods the right texture, moistness and doesn't impart a yucky flavor. So if your wee one is allergic to eggs try this in his/her muffins!

Painting with Toddlers

When introducing a new medium or technique to a child let them experiment with it first. In this example I introduced Cray Pas (Oil Pastels) and Water Color Crayons. I folded a piece of paper in half and had her color using the water color crayons on one side and the cray pas on the other side. I had her feel the surface of paper and asked her what she noticed (the cray pas are very waxy feeling.) We then added water to each picture (just plain water at first.) The water color crayon side began to act like water colors whereas the cray pas side did nothing. I then had her add water color paint to the cray pas side and we noticed how the paint filled in the spaces. Then I let her just experiment on her own with all the materials. I reminded her of a few painting basics as she played (if you paint in one spot too long while the paint is so wet it will make a hole in the paper, don't give the brush a "bad hair day" or don't scrub the brush so hard the bristols get all bent... At this stage introducing them to materials and techniques is the first step. They are learning by experimenting.

For younger children, help them experiment too. Basic things like dipping the brush in water and using the brush require a lot more guidance. This is one of Emme's (18 mos.) paintings. I turned the paper for her as she painted so she didn't paint in one spot. Also change out the paper when you notice it getting too wet. Emme didn't even miss a beat as I changed out her paper for a new one. Most children (18+) are very prolific. You may ask yourself what to do with all their paintings. Here are a few things we like to do: cut out the best sections and glue on to the front of a blank card, cut them up into pieces (after drying) and have child make a collage using their old paintings, cut into tags for presents, cut into letter shape and glue onto piece of construction paper...

Variations on a theme: You probably notice your child will draw the same picture over and over again. This is Lulu's Sun, Ocean, Sea Glass series. Notice the last picture she included a fairy. Although the pictures look alike, your child is refining them in the process. If you don't know what to do with all the artwork from your little Picasso's Blue period -- have older children act as the curator and choose the one they would like to hang up. This is a great way to get them talking about their art work. Why did they choose this one? What do they like about it? Other children who have difficulty choosing one may enjoy a revolving art show. Get a big magnetic bull clip and clip the series to it and hang on the fridge. When you or your child thinks about it place a different picture in front.

The Old Gray Mare...

Threw my back out yesterday -- in the gym parking lot! If you can believe it I twisted wrong getting OUT of my car. I hadn't even stepped foot in the gym! So needless to say I am laying low today. On top of that, our Emme is sick again. I am thankful for our water table and quiet activities. Thought I'd leave you with a song. Sums up how I feel.

The Old Gray Mare

Adapted Spiritual, Written By: Unknown

The old gray mare,
She ain't what she used to be
Ain't what she used to be,
Ain't what she used to be
The old gray mare,
She ain't what she used to be
Many long years ago.

Friday: Random Ideas

We hung up some sentence strips in the kitchen with Lulu's name, address, age, phone number... to help her with name recognition. It is more there for her to look at and not something we drill into her.

We have sung her name to the old Mickey Mouse song since she was a wee one.

Who's the girl that mommy loves, who cute as cute can be...
L-U-C...I-N-D...A...K-I-N-G, Lucinda King, Lucinda King...

We also sing the Muffin Man song for her address.

Do you know Lucinda King, Lucinda King, Lucinda King
Do you know Lucinda King, she live on insert street?

Allergies: Milk, Eggs, Nuts & Seeds

We love Cherrybrook Kitchen Cake Mixes. They are a little expensive but sometimes we catch them on sale and stock up! They are great for pure convenience. There are so many instances when Lulu is invited to a family gathering, birthday party or a class party and we need to bring something for Lulu in replace of cake or dessert. We make a batch of these and freeze them for just such an occasion. We recently discovered Tropical Source Dairy Free & Gluten Free semi sweet chocolate chips ( that taste very close to the real thing. We mix them into the Yellow Cherrybrook Kitchen cup cake mix. Yummm! Even dairy/egg eaters like these.

Dollar Store Love

Check out these cute kid size scoops! 3 for a dollar ( in the housewares aisle) at our dollar store. Yeah I can reclaim my measuring cups from Lulu's Lentil tray.

Life Size Collage People

This project surprised me. I didn't have a clue where these were going when I started. I love that they came out looking very Eric Carle inspired. The idea sprung from Lulu's recent obsession with having herself measured and wanting to know if she grew. I thought, why not trace her and then she can measure herself! Well the minute I started tracing Lulu, Emme wanted to be traced too. I was happy to see she is starting to become interested in our projects. After I traced the girls I couldn't stand the look of the police outline body. So out came the paint and roller. Lulu loved using the paint roller! I had her pick colors (we have been talking a lot about color families and warm and cool colors.) She told me what colors she wanted and where to squirt the paint. I reminded her as she worked that we didn't want to see any white spots. Lulu was so excited to cut out and decorate her "Lulu" I don't know if she could have waited overnight for the paint to dry. Luckily we started this project in the morning and the paint was dry after lunch.

Age: 3+ with help from adult
Level: Easy
Materials: Marker & Pencil
Large roll of paper
Small Paint Roller

Step 1: Tape down large piece of paper. Trace body with pencil. Have child move and outline (fixing your lines as you go) with a dark marker.
Step 2: Squirt paint directly onto paper. Try to pick colors in the same color family so you don't end up with brown. You can see what happened when the cool and warm colors over lapped in our example. Let child roll out paint, adding colors and mixing the colors as she goes. Be sure to paint the paper around the body too. You will need that for cutting out the hair, features and any clothes you may want to add.

Step 3: Let dry. Cut out. Decorate. I cut out the pieces and let Lulu glue them down. Older kids can do this step on their own. We just chose to use the extra painted paper but you could also use fabric, yarn... Lulu wanted to add cheeks. I think that is what makes the faces.

We hung ours on our storm door. I think they look so cute and welcoming there! I love this project because any age child can do this and make it their own. An older child might like to make theirs more realistic. I have to say I love how these came out! If we had extra painted paper I would have added wings to the girls. Emme's especially came out very fairy nymph like.

Crafty Crow Feature

Linnea's Tennis Ball Container Bird Feeder from our Craft Kit Exchange is featured on the Crafty Crow Site! I love this blog! If you don't already check it daily for ideas you should. She features the best of the web for kids and crafts. Yeah Linnea!

Counting Bears Scale!

Counting Bears Scale! Our latest purchase. We have been playing and loving the counting bears for a while now. I figured Lulu was ready to move from counting and sorting to weighing. She is beginning to understand the connection between weight and the number and size of objects on the scale by experimenting.

**Great storage tip for small objects (like counting bears) at

Megan at Plum Pudding drills a hole in the lid of a jar and top side of the jar, attaches a colorful ribbon to the top of the jars and connects it to the top side of the you never lose the top. I have been collecting my mayo and peanut butter jars for this project. Figure I'd do them all at once since it requires me taking out the drill. Check them out they look really cute!

Bubbles Make Everything Better!

Today was a big day. Our little Emme said "bubble!" Clear as day! It is a long story and an even longer road that we have been on with our little Emme and her speech. Just know that hearing her say "bubble, bubble bubble!" was music to my ears. I wanted to jump for joy!

Spring Inspiration: Butterfly String

Tissue Paper / Mixed Media Hanging Butterflies

I saw a beautiful felt butterfly mobile at http// Check it out it is gorgeous! I was immediately inspired to create one myself. I didn't have the felt and didn't see myself getting to the craft store anytime soon.

I remembered a collage technique I had used to create some of my handmade cards (see photos below butterflies.) I thought this would work beautifully. It looks very delicate and allows the subtleties of your collage show through.

Examples of the technique used to make miniature collages for cards.

Supplies: Contact Paper, Template, Tissue, Modge Podge, Glue brush or Foam brush, Sequins, Thread, Needle, Marker
Age: 6+ with assistance from an adult
Level: intermediate

Step 1:
Download template from or use your own
Tape to window and trace onto paper side of contact paper.
(You will not actually ever peal the contact paper from its backing. It is used merely as a surface to work on. You will peal your dried collaged paper off the shiny surface of the contact paper later.)

Step 2:
Tape contact paper (shiny side up) to a work surface. I use an old drawing board so I can move it as we do not have a permanent craft table.
Thin Modge Podge slightly with water.
Working one butterfly at a time -- paint a layer of Modge Podge onto butterfly pattern.
Lay down small tissue pieces, overlapping them as you go, covering pattern
Apply another layer of Modge Podge
Layer more tissue, sequins, or thread
Apply another layer of Modge Podge
Apply a final layer of tissue & Modge Podge
Experiment & have fun. Using different shades of the same color creates a nice effect. Remember to make it at least 2 layers of tissue, 3 would be best. It will make your butterflies more durable.
Lulu (3.5) made the top purple butterfly. She lost interest after doing one. Although she likes to point out her butterfly on the strand!

Step 3: Dry over night
Carefully cut out butterflies.
If you can't see the outline through your layers of tissue -- turn it over and cut using the marker line as your guide. I know this appears self evident but if you have mommy brain...
They may have already started to peal up from the contact paper. So hold them in place with your hand as you cut.
Peal off from contact paper.
I saved my scraps and contact paper butterflies. I will use them in another project. The collaged paper is too beautiful to throw away.

Step 4: Thread. Embellish with sequins & Hang
You can also use your butterflies on packages and cards. Leave me a comment if you come up with some other use for them. Maybe even as a spring luncheon napkin ring...

Valentine's Day Cereal Treats

This was MESSY to make! I got the hang of it after the first batch. A greased plastic baggy on my hand help me shape the hearts. All in all a pretty fast (no baking) and adorable treat. Also dairy free! I also LOVE how we made the foam heart stickers look like conversation hearts! I planned poorly and the cute heart bags a bought didn't fit the treats in them...luckily I am the proud owner of a defunct stationary biz and had lots of plastic card sleeves to use. I will definitely do this project for future Valentine's Day class parties. The strawberry marshmallows make this extra special and yummy!

Valentine's Day Socks

Lulu is showing off her Valentine's Day tee and Emme is working her Valentine's Day frog prince socks!

Felt Fortune Cookie

This is my attempt at Craft Stylish's felt Fortune Cookie. It came out not perfect but cute and took about 10 minutes to make. I had the felt left over from the felt Sugar Cookie I made. I like the idea of making felt play food for the girls. It is easy and much cheaper than buying it!

Sorting Beads

I bought a large mixed container of beads at our craft store for about $4. Lulu loves sorting through them and picking out her favorite beads...which we put in a recycled spice jar. The other beads she makes bracelets with or just likes to sort through them. We store the beads in a container I got at the dollar store. It is important when working with beads that you use a tray with sides to keep the runaway beads to a minimum.

Having specific standby activities available and organized (i.e. beads, lentil tray, water play, playdough, puzzles, painting...) allows your child to to ask for a particular activity during down time. It also allows you to give your child choices when they are looking for something to do. It also helps to have a designated spot for messy activities, especially if you have younger children. Lulu will come in sit herself at the table and ask to do "beads please" or "lentil tray please."

Tennis Ball Canister Bird Feeder

So much for a rainy day...
Lulu saw the bird feeder craft at the Craft Kit Exchange Play Group and well... If you have any experience with 3 year olds you'll understand. She just had to do it and asked and asked to do it. it is!

There wasn't much building involved. Linnea did all the work, drilling the holes (you can also use a hot glue gun to make the holes) and cutting the dowels (some stores sell them cut into shorter lengths.) She even provided us with bird food. Thanks Nene (my daughter's nickname for her.)

Lulu was thrilled with it and watches at the window to see if any birds have discovered it yet.

**Craft Kit Ideas do not need to be original! Some moms were worried they had to come up with some original project. Linnea got this idea from the local Nature Preserve Kids Program and Jennifer got her Dream Mobile idea from the local library Story & A Craft Program. Also, the internet (ahem...4crazykings!) is a great resource. Swapping Craft Kits is about making it easier on the Mamas.

Lulu's Favorite Things

Lulu started the conversation with "Fortune Cookies are my favorite." I took this as an opportunity to find out what she at 3.5 loved. I suggested we make a list of her favorite things. Afterwards she carried around the list and would occassionally ask me to read it to her. I had to promise to give it back after I copied it onto the computer. This will be fun to look back on when she is older. This is her list entirely and in her words.

Fortune Cookies, Beads, Beading, Popsicles, Drum Sticks, Drums, the Go Go Go Song from the Backyardigans, Bunnies, Mermaids, Princesses, Bears (friendly bears), Videos, Ballet, Mouses, Making Lemonade Ice Cubes with my Mommy, Tinkerbell, Beach (because you can go in the water and splash splash!), Counting, Glue (because it is very sticky), Paint, the Go Dog Go book, (ooh I almost forgot!) COOKIES!, and Disney World.

Craft Kit Exchange

Cutie Pies: Lulu, Sophia, Jordan, Hanna & (not pictured: Oliver & Calum)

This morning I attended a Craft Kit Exchange play group. Each mom brought five copies of one or more craft projects. Basic items like glue, paint, scissors... were not included in the kits. Each mom explained their project and then passed them out. Each mom left with five or more projects to use on the next rainy day or sick day. The projects ranged from collage to mobile to beading to material to build your own bird feeder.

I love this idea. How many times have you wanted to do something with your child but couldn't think of something to do or didn't have the materials or time to prep the project. My friend, Maryam, suggested we do a BIG exchange next fall before the long winter. Genius!

Thanks to Maryam who thought of this idea, organized it and hosted a great morning!

Maryam's Project
Memory Matching Game
Adult glues shapes down. Child then matches shapes and glues them down. Child or adult cuts out squares. Turn over and play matching game.

Maryam's Project
Rainbow Color Collage
Glue color squares into rainbow (see top picture of finished project in background of group shot.)

Maryam's Project
Color & Collage onto Coloring Page
Kit included coloring pages, stickers & foam shapes

Linnea's Project
Tennis Ball Canister Bird Feeder
Build bird feeder and then watch for birds. Use a bird book to identify birds in your backyard.

Linda's Project
Collage Mobile
Contact paper, tissue paper, ribbon, photos, feathers... Sandwich between contact paper. Her example showed 3 collaged shapes hung together with yarn. She suggested cutting the contact paper to manageable sizes to work with. After child is done you can trim to desired shape.

Jennifer's Project
I Have A Dream Mobile
Child draws picture of a dream of theirs and then decorates mobile with stars and bells. Hang with yarn.

Mama King's Project
Friendship Bracelets & 3 Hanging Heart Pipe Cleaner Project (see blog archive)


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